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Use of research-based instructional strategies in introductory physics: Where do faculty leave the innovation-decision process?
written by Charles R. Henderson, Melissa H. Dancy, and Magdalena Niewiadomska-Bugaj
During the fall of 2008 a web survey, designed to collect information about pedagogical knowledge and practices, was completed by a representative sample of 722 physics faculty across the United States (50.3% response rate). This paper presents partial results to describe how 20 potential predictor variables correlate with faculty knowledge about and use of research-based instructional strategies (RBIS). The innovation-decision process was conceived of in terms of four stages: knowledge versus no knowledge, trial versus no trial, continuation versus discontinuation, and high versus low use. The largest losses occur at the continuation stage, with approximately 1/3 of faculty discontinuing use of all RBIS after trying one or more of these strategies. Nine of the predictor variables were statistically significant for at least one of these stages when controlling for other variables. Knowledge and/or use of RBIS are significantly correlated with reading teaching-related journals, attending talks and workshops related to teaching, attending the physics and astronomy new faculty workshop, having an interest in using more RBIS, being female, being satisfied with meeting instructional goals, and having a permanent, full-time position. The types of variables that are significant at each stage vary substantially. These results suggest that common dissemination strategies are good at creating knowledge about RBIS and motivation to try a RBIS, but more work is needed to support faculty during implementation and continued use of RBIS. Also, contrary to common assumptions, faculty age, institutional type, and percentage of job related to teaching were not found to be barriers to knowledge or use at any stage. High research productivity and large class sizes were not found to be barriers to use of at least some RBIS.
Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research: Volume 8, Issue 2, Pages 020104
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