Science teacher development day aims to boost high school learning

January 25, 2016

Dr Chris Creagh

Dr Chris Creagh

Physics teachers from high schools throughout Western Australia (WA) will gather at Murdoch University this week.

Top of the agenda will be how to boost the high school learning experience for pupils throughout the state.

The Physics Teacher Professional Development Day also aims to bolster cross sector links.

Organised by Dr Chris Creagh from the School of Engineering and Information Technology, the event will be held on Wednesday, January 27, and will feature sessions on how to teach relativity and embedding activities into teaching.

A series of workshops and seminars have been designed to help teachers share the best ways of improving the learning experience for pupils at schools across WA.

“It is important to develop links between universities and high schools because teaching and learning at tertiary institutions depends heavily on what students know before they get here,” said Dr Creagh.

“We have shown that students who study higher levels of mathematics and physics at high school have, on average, a better chance of success and better grades in first year physics courses than students who do not.

“We have developed resources to help teachers achieve this with their students across a number of topics and we will be going over these at the professional development day.”

Dr Creagh created a website (www.PhysCom.net) as part of an Office for Learning and Teaching National Teaching Fellowship, which houses learning and teaching resources, such as films of physics demonstrations and classroom activities. The site also provides a forum for physics teachers to find, share and comment on teaching resources and approaches.

“The teachers probably don’t have the opportunity to get together and discuss physics education very often and we hope the website will provide this opportunity and cement the links they make on the professional development day,” said Dr Creagh.

“We hope the development day sessions will enthuse the teachers and provide them with some resources which they can use in their classrooms.

“I’m a member of the Australian Institute of Physics (WA Branch) and the high school teachers at these meetings say there is a clear need for more professional development in physics and better links between teachers, the schools and universities.

“Some of the high school teachers attending the professional development day are from the distance education sector and are interested in any online learning materials that will help their students.”

Presentations at the professional development day will be delivered by academics from Murdoch and the University of Western Australia.

If successful, the event will be run on a regular basis.

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