The Challenges of Teaching Physics in Urban Secondary Schools
Angela M. Kelly, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Graduate Program in Science
Acting Director, Lehman College Noyce Scholarship Program
Coordinator, Teacher Education for Advanced Science
Lehman College, City University of New York
The presentation will focus on three aspects of teaching
physics in urban schools: logistical constraints, physics teacher
self-efficacy, and research-based best practices. First, the
limitations of urban secondary physics programs will be discussed
through data collected in New York City, where physics course
offerings are limited and physics teaching positions are often
difficult to find. Secondly, urban physics teachers face many
challenges in the classroom, and their self-efficacy and resilience
will be explored through qualitative interview data. Finally, I will
highlight best practices adopted in an innovative weekend physics
program at the Bronx Institute at Lehman College. The program was
established as an alternative means to provide physics instruction
for those students who attend schools that do not offer physics.
Research findings indicate significant improvements in students'
attitudes, knowledge, and appreciation of physics, suggesting that
well designed constructivist physics programs are potentially
transformative in improving students' academic achievement,
confidence and persistence in science, and positional advantage.
Last modified: Tue Sep 7 14:47:08 2010