Anna-Maria Pessoa de Carvalho and Richard White
Section editors

As do other sections of this book, the chapters in Section D express concern about the general quality of teaching and learning of physics.

The authors fear that physics teaching concentrates on transmission of established facts and principles, and routine mathematical exercises, at the expense of portraying physics as a dynamic, human construction of a way of perceiving the natural world. As well, the relations of physics to other knowledge, such as history, and its importance for current issues of society and technology, are too often ignored. This limited teaching is a consequence of attitudes.

The chapters point out that beliefs are a crucial element of attitudes. If we are to improve the teaching of physics, we must attend to beliefs about the nature of scientific knowledge, about the purpose of schooling, and about teaching and learning.

Attitudes form slowly, and are a result of experience. There is then a cycle, in which teachers experience transmission of knowledge when they are shoolchildren, and go on to teach in the same manner to their own pupils, some of whom will become teachers in turn and so continue the cycle. The challenge that the chapters address is how to break this cycle of mediocrity, through training of teachers and their involvement in research on learning.

SectionD,  Introduction from: Connecting Research in Physics Education with Teacher Education
An I.C.P.E. Book © International Commission on Physics Education 1997,1998
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