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Sunday, 15 May 2011

Improving the Science of Teaching Science

New York Times
May 13, 2011

Over the past few years, scientists have been working to transform education from the inside out, by applying findings from learning and memory research where they could do the most good, in the classroom. A study appearing in the journal Science on Thursday illustrates how promising this work can be and how treacherous.

The research comes from a closely watched group led by Carl Wieman, a Nobel laureate in physics at the University of British Columbia who leads a $12 million initiative to improve science instruction using research-backed methods for both testing students’ understanding and improving how science is taught.

In one of the initiative’s most visible studies, Dr. Wieman’s team reports that students in an introductory college physics course did especially well on an exam after attending experimental, collaborative classes during the 12th week of the course. By contrast, students taking the same course from another instructor who did not use the experimental approach and continued with lectures as usual scored much lower on the same exam.


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