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Faculty of Physics, University of Craiova, Romania
E-mails: [email_address] ; [email_address]
European priorities in the school education (http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-policy/doc64_en.htm)
25% of young people under the age of 15 attain the lowest level of proficiency in reading;
15% of young people aged 18-24 leave school prematurely;
78% of 22-year-olds have completed their upper secondary education;
the interest in subjects as science and mathematics is low.
Education ministers from EU Member States have set themselves four priorities to work on to improve national school systems:
accent on the following key competences: language learning, ICT, mathematics, science and technology,
development of a lifelong learning system
social inclusion through education.
Schools should provide the essential competences: knowledge, skills and attitudes
EQF - a framework for co-operation ( http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-policy/doc44_en.htm)
EQF consists of three main elements:
A structure of 8 levels referring to learning outcomes.
A range of tools and instruments: an integrated European credit transfer and accumulation system for lifelong learning, the Europass instrument, the Ploteus database on learning opportunities.
A set of common principles and procedures providing guidelines for co-operation between stakeholders at different levels – in particular focussing on quality assurance, validation, guidance and key competences (knowledge, skills and attitudes) .
Descriptors defining levels in the EQF Level Knowledge Skills Competence Level 1 Basic knowledge carry out simple tasks work or study under direct supervision Level 2 Basic factual knowledge use relevant information and solve routine problems work or study under supervision with some autonomy Level 3 Facts, principles, processes and general concepts, accomplish tasks and solve problems by selecting and applying basic methods, take responsibility for completion of tasks in work or study; adapt own behaviour to circumstances in solving problems Level 4 Factual and theoretical knowledge in broad contexts within a field of work or study a range of cognitive and practical skills required to generate solutions to specific problems in a field of work or study exercise self-management within the guidelines of work or study contexts that are usually predictable, but are subject to change; supervise the routine work of others, taking some responsibility for the evaluation and improvement of work or study activities Level 5 [ Comprehensive, specialised, factual and theoretical knowledge within a field of work or study and an awareness of the boundaries of that knowledge a comprehensive range of cognitive and practical skills required to develop creative solutions to abstract problems exercise management and supervision in contexts of work or study activities where there is unpredictable change; review and develop performance of self and others
Towards a Common European Framework in Teaching Physics
Teaching quality is mainly associated with the creation of generic competences (e.g. teamwork, communication skills) and with the general organisation of studies.
The national frameworks for physics should not give prescriptions at the level of detailed curricula. They should provide only a very general idea of the content.
There were many steps & projects trying to propose the level of physics knowledge and skills considered as sufficient to establish a common framework across Europe :
- EUPEN (EUropean Physics Education Network),
- STEPS and STEPS TWO Projects.
- TUNING Project - produced Reference Points for the Design and Delivery of Degree Programmes in Physics .
Quantum Physics (20%-40 %) Quantum mechanics, Statistical mechanics, Solid state physics, Atomic, nuclear and particle physics ,
Experimental/laboratory (20%-40%) Laboratory work (20%-30%), Project work (10%-20%)
Mathematics & computing (20%-40%) Mathematics, IT skills & Modelling
Optional topics (0%-40%) A minor subject (or subjects) either related to Physics or totally unrelated.
Main objectives in teaching Physics Experimental & laboratory work Project work Mathematics & computing Optional topics 20-30 % 10-20 % 20-40 % 0-40 %
Plan an experimental investigation;
Use apparatus to acquire data;
report the results
Understand how regulatory issues such as health and safety influence scientific experimentation and observation.
The objectives of such project work will include most of the following:
investigation of a physics-based problem
planning, and operation of an investigation
establishment of co-operative working practices with colleagues
design, assembly and testing of equipment or software
Trigonometric and complex numbers
Calculus to the level of multiple integrals; solution of linear ordinary and partial differential equations
Vectors to the level of div, grad and curl;
IT skills & Modelling
Word processing packages
Data analysis and manipulation packages
Modelling of physical systems
A minor subject (or subjects) either related to Physics or totally unrelated.
Astronomy & Astrophysics
Industrial Placement or visits
Important knowledge or skills can be transferred by visiting some companies, research institutes, exhibitions or other places where industrial devices can be seen.
Modern teaching methods in Physics education & student-centered learning
In the STEPS TWO Project - assessment of a selected number of modern teaching methods focused on student-centered learning (it requires students to be active, responsible participants in their own learning).
a) Problem Based Learning: students learn through the exploration of a problem.
Students frequently work in small self-directed teams;
The leadership of each group might change on a regular basis;
The teacher acts as facilitator and resource person;
The assessment might also involve peer assessment of each member of a group;
Laboratory classes can also be taught by Problem Based Learning.
b) Project Based Learning: supposes assignment or task that involve an extended (usually) library or Internet based documentation and then some form of reporting.
Example 1: Peer instruction is a student-centred learning approach which involves students discussing and debating answers to conceptual questions with one another. Usually an interactive voting system is employed to capture and analyze students’ responses to the questions before and after the debate.
Example 2 : Just-in-Time Teaching (JiTT) - a student–led approach, where the content of teaching sessions is decided at the last minute, and is based upon the results of on-line assignments which students complete a few hours before the start of the session.