Member Institution Georgia Southern University
Georgia Southern University
Delena Bell Gatch
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The physics department at Georgia Southern University is committed to promoting and improving science teacher education. Working closely with our colleagues on campus in the College of Education, we have revised our B.A. in Physics to make it more attractive to those students desiring to teach high school science. The revised program allows for multiple opportunities for students to obtain early teaching experiences. Students are required to complete both a Teaching Internship directed by the physics department and a Pre-Professional Block Field Experience directed by the College of Education. Students enrolled in the Teaching Internship course serve as Learning Assistants in either the introductory Astronomy sequence or the introductory Physics sequence as early as their freshman year. Our physics department has just recently began utilizing Learning Assistants upon conversion of our traditional introductory lecture and laboratory courses into a single integrated course in which much of the class time is devoted to active, inquiry-based learning. Students completing the Pre-Professional Block Field Experience sequence of courses are engaged in a real classroom setting at one of the area schools. This allows students to gain significant hands-on experiences that serve to inform their decision about becoming a science teacher. In addition, this introduces students to master teachers very early in their program who could later sever as mentors for the students completing teacher certification. Our physics department is currently taking an active role in improving this pre-service training of high school science teachers. We look forward to the opportunity through PTEC membership to share innovative ideas with those who have similar interest in science teacher education.