Henderson Beach Famiano - AJP 2009

Promoting instructional change via co-teaching
American Journal of Physics, Volume 77, Number 3 (March 2009), pp. 274-283

Charles Henderson, Andrea Beach, Michael Famiano

Physics Education Research (PER) has made significant progress in developing effective instructional strategies, but disseminating the background knowledge and strategies to other faculty has proven difficult. Co-teaching is a promising and cost-effective alternative to traditional professional development which may be applicable in particular situations. We discuss the theoretical background of co-teaching and describe our initial experience with it. A new instructor (Famiano) co-taught an introductory calculus-based physics course with an instructor experienced in PER-based reforms (Henderson). The pair taught within the course structure typically used by Henderson and met regularly to discuss instructional decisions. An outsider (Beach) conducted separate interviews with each instructor and observed several class sessions. Classroom observations show an immediate use of PER-based instructional practices by the new instructor. Interviews show a significant shift in the new instructor's beliefs about teaching and intentions of future use of PER-based instructional approaches.

An earlier version of the article was posted on arxiv.org