Proposal Title

Challenges of Physics Education Research in Canada

Session Type

Presentation

Start Date

8-7-2011 10:30 AM

Keywords

Physics Education Research, Science Education Research, undergraduate physics

Primary Threads

Other

Abstract

One may ask why there are only few subject-based Science Education Research groups in Canada, unlike in USA, Europe, Australia or Latin America where subject-based Science Education Research flourishes. The main reason is the virtual absence of funding for subject-based Science Education Research at the national and provincial levels, with very few exceptions. In the absence of sustainable long-term funding, graduate programs based within Science Departments cannot be established. Another problem that hinders the development of the field is a disconnect that exists between Science Departments and Faculties of Education. Physics Education Research (PER) provides a good example for examining the challenges faced by subject-based Education Research in Canada. Almost all recent Canadian PER initiatives happened despite the lack of PER funding at both national and provincial levels. These efforts are initiated by the individuals, small groups and some universities. As a result, mostly a patchwork of short-term PER research projects currently exists in Canada, and the long-term sustainability of these research efforts remains problematic. As an outgoing Chair of the Division of Physics Education of the Canadian Association of Physicists, I will provide a few case studies of recent successful physics education initiatives in Canada. Despite the difficulties we face, PER movement in Canada is building slowly from the ground up. However, the long-term future of PER in Canada remains uncertain. The united effort by science educators representing various science disciplines is needed to overcome present challenges imposed by the current lack of funding for Science Education Research.

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Jul 8th, 10:30 AM

Challenges of Physics Education Research in Canada

One may ask why there are only few subject-based Science Education Research groups in Canada, unlike in USA, Europe, Australia or Latin America where subject-based Science Education Research flourishes. The main reason is the virtual absence of funding for subject-based Science Education Research at the national and provincial levels, with very few exceptions. In the absence of sustainable long-term funding, graduate programs based within Science Departments cannot be established. Another problem that hinders the development of the field is a disconnect that exists between Science Departments and Faculties of Education. Physics Education Research (PER) provides a good example for examining the challenges faced by subject-based Education Research in Canada. Almost all recent Canadian PER initiatives happened despite the lack of PER funding at both national and provincial levels. These efforts are initiated by the individuals, small groups and some universities. As a result, mostly a patchwork of short-term PER research projects currently exists in Canada, and the long-term sustainability of these research efforts remains problematic. As an outgoing Chair of the Division of Physics Education of the Canadian Association of Physicists, I will provide a few case studies of recent successful physics education initiatives in Canada. Despite the difficulties we face, PER movement in Canada is building slowly from the ground up. However, the long-term future of PER in Canada remains uncertain. The united effort by science educators representing various science disciplines is needed to overcome present challenges imposed by the current lack of funding for Science Education Research.