Rethinking the relationship between instructors and physics education researchers
Elby, A., & Yerdelen-Damar, S. (2020). Rethinking the relationship between instructors and physics education researchers. Physical Review Physics Education Research, 16(2).
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[This paper is part of the Focused Collection on Curriculum Development: Theory into Design.] In the “standard” physics education research curriculum-development model, researchers are cast primarily as producers of curricula and instructors are cast primarily consumers, i.e., adopters and adapters. We illustrate a complementary model in which researchers’ curricular modules, and also their “pure” research unattached to curriculum development, can serve as instructionally generative fodder that inspires and loosely guides instructors in creating their own curricular materials. Drawing on experiences from our graduate student days, we show how particular curricula and research papers influenced our curriculum development and instruction in particular ways. We then argue that the physics education ecosystem could benefit if researchers were more intentional about creating potential instructionally generative fodder, and we suggest ways to do so. Although not intended to replace the standard curriculum-development model, which has a history of producing effective tutorials and other curricular modules, our alternative model casts the researcher and instructor as co-equal contributors to the research-based yet creative process of curriculum generation.
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