Rojas - arxiv.org 2009

On the teaching and learning of physics: A Criticism and a Systemic Approach
arXiv:0902.1151v1 [physics.ed-ph]

Sergio Rojas

The amount of published research in Physics Education Research (PER) shows, on one hand, an increasing interest in the design and development of high performance physics teaching strategies, and, on the other hand, it tries to understand plausible ways on which the brain processes scientific information so that scientific thinking skills could be taught more effectively. As physics is a subject in which mathematical and conceptual reasoning can not be separated, instructors of physics face the problem of finding suitable advise on the most effective methods of teaching physics (i.e. how much time should be spent on intuitive conceptual reasoning and how much time in developing quantitative reasoning, and how to teach both in a unitary way). In spite the important efforts made by the PER community, the published results are overwhelming and confusing for the physics instructors in the sense that the conclusions that have arisen in those articles are in some instances controversial and far from being conclusive in pointing out a particular strategy to overcome the afore mentioned problem. Accordingly, based on the analysis of published PER work, we'll be arguing that one of the major difficulties to overcome in the teaching of physics could be associated to the lack of a consistent and coherent methodological framework for teaching which integrates both aspects, conceptual and mathematical reasoning, in a systemic way of thinking. We will be presenting a set of plausible steps that could be applied to tackle the aforementioned difficulty.