An Evaluation of Effectiveness of Short Physics Workshops for In-service Teachers

Presentation Date: 

Monday, January 10, 2011


American Association of Physics Teachers Winter Meeting 2011 (Jacksonville, FL)
There is compelling evidence that Peer Instruction improves students’ ability to complete both conceptual and traditional computational physics problems. We used Peer Instruction during a four-week long (120 hours) retraining course for in-service teachers of grades 7-12 in Korea. The goal of this study is to investigate if Peer Instruction can be used to improve the participating teachers’ conceptual understanding of introductory physics concepts. To this end we pre- and post-tested the teachers using the Force Concept Inventory and The Conceptual Survey of Electricity and Magnetism. Because the average FCI pretest score was 92%, we did not administer an FCI posttest. The CSEM pretest score was 66% and revealed that teachers had difficulties with the concepts of electric shielding, induced electromagnetic force, and Faraday’s law. We addressed their specific misconceptions using ConcepTests on these subjects and then administered a CSEM postest at the end of the course. The posttest score was 88%, yielding a gain of 22%. The results suggest that Peer Instruction improved the teachers’ conceptual understanding even in a course of only four weeks. We will discuss the instructional implications of this study and propose Peer Instruction as a useful approach in improving students’ conceptual understanding in the middle and high school classroom.