Supported Site Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo: Goals & Outcomes

Goal

The goal of the PhysTEC grant at Cal Poly is to increase the number and the quality of physics teachers. Our philosophy has been that people teach the way they are taught and that more people will find teaching interesting if they experience new and different modes of teaching. Therefore we have changed the way we teach our introductory physics courses and our introduction to teaching courses so that students experience the type of teaching we would like them to use. In this way, all of our future teachers will have the types of learning experiences that we want them to draw from when they begin teaching. We have changed the way we teach by implementing tested curriculums such as Powerful Ideas in Physical Science, Interactive Lecture Demonstrations, and Real Time Physics Labs. This has given our students the experiences we want, and, in addition, has also given our faculty new experiences as well.

Selected Outcomes

  • Over the lifetime of the project, there has been an increase in the number of physics teachers produced. We averaged 1/3 of a teacher per year in the 3 years before PhysTEC; we now average 1 teacher per year.
  • In 2005-2006, we had two TIRs, one supported by PhysTEC and the college and one supported entirely by the college. In 2006-2007 the college supported two TIRs.
  • Using the TIR as the supervisor of student teachers dramatically improved the quality of the supervision and our relations with local teachers and the local school districts.
  • We developed a model, along with a day-by-day plan, for a type of team teaching. Instructors teach their own sections, use the same general plan, and meet once a week to discuss what is happening or will happen in the course.
  • We reformed the first and second quarter physics course for elementary teachers using the Powerful Ideas in Physical Science Curriculum. The results have been postive. Students like the course and they show improvements on the Heat and Temperature Concept Evaluation (HTCE) and a local optics exam.
  • We improved the quality of student teacher mentoring.