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There is a wonderful body of research on the misconceptions of college students in general that they bring to large freshman physics courses. The body of research comes from the Physics Education Research group of the University of Washington Physics Department in Seattle, led by Lillian McDermott. To learn more about their research see their website:


Try to get Lillian McDermott's Oersted Medal article from 2001 in the American Journal of Physics. Her group has prepared a remarkable course for teachers or minority students called Physics by Inquiry, which is unusually effective with teachers or with college students from outside of physics, as long as it is taught properly. A summer's experience with Physics by Inquiry as taught by members of McDermott's group is the best preparation known to us for teaching this course; much of the material for the course is contained in the written materials for Physics by Inquiry, which are used in a laboratory setting, with few or no lectures needed. Precise details about this course should be obtained directly from Professor McDermott or members of her group before trying to teach it. I know this from five years of experience organizing the scaling up the teaching of Physics by Inquiry in Ohio between 1991 and 1996: ultimately about five hundred middle school teachers were taught this course in a six weeks long intensive summer program, with six follow-up sessions of two days each during the following academic year.

An outside evaluator who was initially skeptical finally quit evaluating the effects of our program on teachers, because she told us that we had made our point that it caused profound change in most of our teachers beyond argument. Changes in the students taught by these teachers were harder to detect because the teachers we taught still had to struggle with unacceptable constraints on their teaching forced on them by most of their principals and by the present unbelievably stupid structure of most middle schools as organizations. If you want a short diatribe on why most middle schools and high schools do not and cannot work for the bulk of their students, because of the way that most of them are presently organized, let me know.

Awesome! It is good article through which we can know how to teach our students and provide the good study material.

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