Physics Teacher, Assistant Debate Coach, Physics PLT Facilitator2010-11
How do you stay current with evolving teaching strategies and methodologies,model reflective practices, and seek opportunities to grow in your content areaand/or grade level?
Last year, I wrote that I read voraciously and built a strong network with physicsteachers at Westminster and at other schools. I would say I have increased these twothings tremendously in the past year, I now regularly read the blogs of over a dozenmath and science teachers, as well as many other blogs about science, technology andother topics. Since the creation of the Atlanta Metro Physics Teacher Network, I metmany new colleagues in the Atlanta area, and through twitter and the teaching blogI’m now keeping, am in touch with more than a dozen physics teachers around thenation. My work with colleagues at Georgia Tech has also developed into a grantproposal for a research project to explore new ways of teaching mechanics to physicsstudents in high school and college using computer modeling.2.
Describe an experiment that demonstrates your willingness to take risks and openness to engage new ideas.
I think I’m doing this on an almost constant basis, since I am always finding newideas through my contacts with other physics teachers and blogs about teaching andscience. It’s rare that I go a single week without implementing something new in oneof my classes.Three particular new ideas I am working on this year are:a.
Brain Based Research Program for High School Students
: Anna Moore and I areworking to develop a research program that will use high school students toconduct psychology experiments on students in the elementary school to test how various forms of praise affect risk taking and academic performance. We hopethat this project will captivate some of our ninth grade students, who are very passionate about science, but not yet able to work in a college lab. We plan to usethis project to take them all the way through the experimental process: developingand writing a proposal, developing protocols, evaluating data, and presentingtheir findings.b.
Student Stress reduction:
I discovered the trailer to the film
Race to Nowhere
,which describes the overstressed lives of high school students who are jockeyingfor admission to the most competitive colleges with little sense of purpose orenjoyment in their work. I am now working with Jim Justice and other membersof the faculty to raise discussions around this issue, possibly hold a screening of the film with the director here on campus, and design follow up conversations toaddress the issues raised by the film.