Students’ Views on How Physics Should Be Taught and Learned

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This paper discusses students’ views about the teaching and learning of introductory physics at university level. The study formed a component of a major study that looked at student performance in introductory physics from four South African universities. In the major study 194 introductory physics students participated. Twenty six students were selected to participate in focus group interviews where they raised their views on how physics should be taught and learned. Important issues that could improve the teaching and learning of physics are discussed. There were four focus group interviews conducted, i.e. one focus group interview per university. The themes that formed part of the interview schedule are: Grade 12 Physics background, what students aim to achieve with Physics, what students expected Physics I to be like, what helped students to understand Physics I, lecture section and lecturers, the effectiveness of the lecture section, discussions in class, how do discussions in class help students? the practicals, tutorials and tutors, exercises, tests and exams, students’ expectations and attitudes in Physics I, acquired skills, conceptual understanding, students’ confidence, and physics workload.


Keywords: Students' Views, Physics, Teaching, Learning
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Fhatuwani J. Mundalamo

Lecturer, Marang Center for Mathematics & Science Education, University of the Witwatersrand
Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

I teach undergraduate and postgraduate Physics at the Wits School of Education, University of the Witwatersrand. I also supervise postgraduate research projects. My research interests are in the improvement of teaching and learning of physics in high schools.

Prof. Diane J. Grayson

University of Pretoria
Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa


Ref: L08P0599