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Understanding the learning assistant experience with physics identity Documents

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Understanding the learning assistant experience with physics identity 

written by Eleanor W. Close, Hunter G. Close, and David Donnelly

Learning Assistants (LAs) have been shown to have better conceptual understanding and more favorable beliefs about science than non-LAs, and are more likely to choose a career in K-12 science teaching [1]. We propose that connections between elements of identity, persistence, and participation in an LA program can be explained using the concept of the community of practice and its intimate relationship to identity [2]. In separate work, Hazari et al. found that physics identity was highly correlated to expressed career plans in physics [3]. We hypothesize that a thriving LA program has many features of a well-functioning community of practice and contributes to all four elements of physics identity: personal interest, student performance, competence, and recognition by others. We explore how this analysis of the LA experience might shape decisions and influence outcomes of adoption and adaptations of the LA model.

Published January 24, 2013
Last Modified June 20, 2013