a senior secondary school physics curriculum for talented students

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presentation on the GIREP 2008 conference on physics education

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a senior secondary school physics curriculum for talented students

  1. 1. A senior secondary school physics curriculum for talented students <ul><li>Paper to the 2008 GIREP conference </li></ul><ul><li>Nicosia, Cyprus </li></ul><ul><li>Ton van der Valk, Vincent van Dijk and Jeroen van Velden </li></ul><ul><li>Junior College Utrecht, Utrecht University </li></ul>
  2. 2. Our roles <ul><li>Jeroen and Vincent are physics teachers in Junior College Utrecht and in a regular school </li></ul><ul><li>Ton is curriculum coordinator in JCU and a researcher </li></ul><ul><li>Jeroen and Vincent reflect on their teaching in JCU, using results from a research to empowerment of JCU students </li></ul><ul><li>So together we produce `knowledge of practice´ (Couso, Tuesday) </li></ul>
  3. 3. Outline <ul><li>Junior College Utrecht </li></ul><ul><li>JCU curriculum characteristics </li></ul><ul><li>Investigation to empowerment of JCU students </li></ul><ul><li>Reflection on empowerment by the physics curriculum characteristics </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusions: the empowerment components in physics </li></ul><ul><li>Recommendations </li></ul>
  4. 4. The Junior College Utrecht <ul><li>Utrecht University + 26 partner schools </li></ul><ul><li>2 years of pre-university science education (grade 11 and 12) </li></ul><ul><li>Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology + (2008) Advanced Science / Mathematics </li></ul><ul><li>Selection of science motivated students </li></ul><ul><li>Now 100 students </li></ul><ul><li>Lessons on Monday and Tuesday </li></ul><ul><li>3 cohorts passed national exams </li></ul><ul><li>>80% opt for a university science study </li></ul>
  5. 5. Goals of Junior College Utrecht <ul><li>Students: To offer an interesting and challenging science education program to talented and motivated students (age 16 – 18) </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers and schools: To provide a working place to partner schools for innovation of the science and maths curricula </li></ul>
  6. 6. JCU Curriculum characteristics <ul><li>Accelerated pace </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Syllabuses done in 60% of time </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Similarly disposed peers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Students share passion for science/ math </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Research oriented </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Assignments like prethesis and JCU-thesis </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Approach by teachers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tuned to interests and capacities of students </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Enriched programme </li></ul><ul><ul><li>NLT (Advanced Science) modules </li></ul></ul><ul><li>JCU atmosphere </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Social activities; student participation </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Empowerment <ul><li>Empowerment: process of adopting values and enacting practises of self-interest to align student and teacher goals </li></ul><ul><li>Three components: students feel </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Impact : they contribute and self-determine goals and methods </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Meaningfulness : topics and activities are meaningful </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Competence : competent to do the learning tasks </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Investigation to empowerment of JCU students <ul><li>Questionnaire on empowerment and the effects of curriculum characteristics (N= 75) </li></ul><ul><li>Results: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All students felt empowered </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No significant differences between 3 components, groups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Components: girls significantly lower on competence scale, not on marks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>All characteristics added to empowerement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Accelerated curriculum the least </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>atmosphere the most </li></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Interpretation of results from physics curriculum point of view <ul><li>Research question : How do the six characteristics as implemented in JCU physics curriculum, influence students’ empowerment? </li></ul><ul><li>Data: physics teachers’ experience; qualitative data from students </li></ul><ul><li>Our reflections as JCU physics teachers </li></ul>
  10. 10. Accelerated curriculum; Similarly disposed peers <ul><li>Students acknowledge acceleration is needed in physics curriculum </li></ul><ul><li>Maths/technics oriented group: pace OK </li></ul><ul><li>Life-science oriented group: pace too high: they get unsure, less self-confidence </li></ul><ul><li>Students appreciate their peers </li></ul><ul><li>But they are not the best of class anymore </li></ul><ul><li> Differentiate: students can opt for more comprehensive or more syllabus oriented tasks </li></ul>
  11. 11. Research oriented; Enrichment <ul><li>Research: university labs; doing (pre)-thesis; meeting researchers </li></ul><ul><li>Presenting thesis and excursion to CERN are highlights </li></ul><ul><li>Going beyond physics syllabus in modules and lessons (background theory, additional topics; lab work) </li></ul><ul><li>Students appreciate enrichment </li></ul><ul><li>Some students find: too much physics in modules </li></ul><ul><li> Students can choose between 2 modules </li></ul>
  12. 12. Approach by teachers JCU atmosphere <ul><li>We present topics in large integrated pieces </li></ul><ul><li>Start with essentials; then details </li></ul><ul><li>Ppt presentations on internet </li></ul><ul><li>Students appreciate our approach and discussions in physics lessons </li></ul><ul><li>JCU atmosphere is phantastic! </li></ul><ul><li>Students experience freedom, challenge, respect for their contributions </li></ul><ul><li>Physics lessons have stimulated me to develop my way of learning </li></ul>
  13. 13. Conclusions <ul><li>JCU characteristics are implemented in our physics lessons </li></ul><ul><li>All contribute to students´ empowerment: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the most to ´meaningful´ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>to ´competence´ to a lesser extent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the least to ´impact´ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In physics lessons, more ´self-determination´ needed </li></ul><ul><li>JCU group is not homogeneous. To some, the pace in physics lessons is too high and enrichment includes too much physics </li></ul><ul><li>Intention: we are going to use differentiated tasks </li></ul>
  14. 14. Recommendations for regular schools <ul><li>Good atmosphere in science classes: challenge for setting goals, for contributions, give them respect, options </li></ul><ul><li>Opportunities for acceleration and enrichment to talented students </li></ul><ul><li>Different tasks for different groups in the class </li></ul><ul><li>Ask a clear task product , pay attention to the process and product </li></ul><ul><li>Let students present their products to each other </li></ul>

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