Response of Tokyo Students to Reformed Physics Curriculum

Monday, June 4, 2012 - 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Reiss 502
Michael M. Hull
University of Maryland

In the spring semester of 2011, I visited Tokyo Gakugei University to assist in introducing and implementing Tutorials (reformed physics curriculum). While the course was taking place, I collected video data from various sources, including one-on-one interviews with students and the classroom itself. Many students revealed in interviews that their prior physics classes had been lecture-based and had emphasized memorizing laws and equations for problem solving.
Tutorials, in contrast, have students work in small groups to complete worksheets of conceptual physics problems and emphasize explaining one’s own reasoning. Students said that their previous experiences in physics had given them the impression that “learning physics” means absorbing the teacher’s knowledge, whether it makes sense or not. As
a result of Tutorials, however, students explained that they now see that one’s own ideas, experiences, and intuitions can be valuable tools for learning physics. In-class video data suggests that this attitude toward physics affected the way that students engaged with
learning new content. In this talk, I will showcase some data from an interview as well as from a group of students trying to reconcile their intuitions about electrical circuits with results from an experiment they conduct