Karen Topp is a senior lecturer in physics at Bowdoin College. She will speak about "Encouraging Physics Students to Become Physics Teachers: Reflections on efforts at Bowdoin College to address the national high school physics teacher shortage."
Abstract: The United States has a severe, long-term shortage of qualified physics teachers; fewer than half of high school physics classes are taught by a teacher with a degree in the subject. While the number of high school students taking physics has been growing rapidly over the past two decades, school districts consistently rank physics as the discipline with the most critical teacher shortage. (1)
The Physics Department at Bowdoin College has recently partnered with our Education Department colleagues to explore what a small liberal arts college might do to address this shortage. Our first step was the creation of a new Physics and Education Interdisciplinary major, and our latest experiment is a “Learning Assistant” program (2), which employs physics majors in introductory level physics classes, benefiting both the students in the class and introducing majors to the rewards of teaching and learning. This presentation will be a reflection and conversation around issues Bowdoin has thought about in promoting and supporting a path towards physics teacher preparation.
Reception to follow in the lobby of Hayes Hall.
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