Scholarly article on topic 'The Pedagogical Content Knowledge Exploration from the Thai Expert Physics Teacher's Class'

The Pedagogical Content Knowledge Exploration from the Thai Expert Physics Teacher's Class Academic research paper on "Educational sciences"

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{"Pedagogical Content Knowledge" / "expert Physics teacher" / "Ohm's law ;"}

Abstract of research paper on Educational sciences, author of scientific article — Tarntip Chantaranima, Chokchai Yuenyong

Abstract Nowadays, many science educational researchers in Thailand focus their attentions on improving teachers’ classroom knowledge. Pedagogical Content Knowledge is one of particularly interesting methods. The aim of this study is to improve the understanding of the PCK elements used by an expert physics teacher. The research question is: What are the elements of PCK which can be revealed from interactions between this expert teacher and his students in the context of a 5E stages approach to teaching? The topic of the teaching was “Ohm's law” and the lessons were planned in accordance with the 5E teaching model. The lessons were conducted with 32 students over four hours. Semi-structured interviews were developed based on a Loughran, Berry and Mullhall's (2006) Content Representations (CoRes). The framework of CoRes allowed in-depth information of the teacher's ideas for planning, designing, and presenting his lesson plans to be examined. Moreover, classroom observations were collected and analysed for events that demonstrated PCK. Exemplary excerpts were selected and reviewed with the teacher. Interpreting through semi-structured interviews, lesson plan analyses, and classroom observations enabled an identification of the teacher's PCK.

Academic research paper on topic "The Pedagogical Content Knowledge Exploration from the Thai Expert Physics Teacher's Class"

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Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 116 (2014) 389 - 393

5th World Conference on Educational Sciences - WCES 2013

The Pedagogical Content Knowledge Exploration from the Thai

Expert Physics Teacher's class

Tarntip Chantaranima a *, Chokchai Yuenyong b

aPhD candidate, Science Education Program,Faculty of Education, Khon Kaen Unversityi,Thailand bAssistant Professor Doctor, Science Education Program,Faculty of Education, Khon Kaen Unversityi,Thailand

Abstract

Nowadays, many science educational researchers in Thailand focus their attentions on improving teachers' classroom knowledge. Pedagogical Content Knowledge is one of particularly interesting methods. The aim of this study is to improve the understanding of the PCK elements used by an expert physics teacher. The research question is: What are the elements of PCK which can be revealed from interactions between this expert teacher and his students in the context of a 5E stages approach to teaching? The topic of the teaching was "Ohm's law" and the lessons were planned in accordance with the 5E teaching model. The lessons were conducted with 32 students over four hours. Semi-structured interviews were developed based on a Loughran, Berry and Mullhall's (2006) Content Representations (CoRes). The framework of CoRes allowed in-depth information of the teacher's ideas for planning, designing, and presenting his lesson plans to be examined. Moreover, classroom observations were collected and analysed for events that demonstrated PCK. Exemplary excerpts were selected and reviewed with the teacher. Interpreting through semi-structured interviews, lesson plan analyses, and classroom observations enabled an identification of the teacher's PCK.

© 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Selectionand/orpeer-reviewunder responsibilityofAcademicWorldEducation and Research Center. Keywords: Pedagogical Content Knowledge, expert Physics teacher, Ohm's law;

l.Introduction

One of my teachers that I will never forget is my first Physics teacher who taught me in secondary school. He was inspiring, and because of him, my friends and I grew to enjoy studying Physics. He had a well-developed PCK and used experiments, games, and video clips while other teachers used only chalk and the black board in their classrooms. Because he holds an academic title of associated professor, I will refer to him as an expert teacher in the context of this study

Shulman (1987) originally defined Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) as "the blending of content and pedagogy into an understanding of how particular topics, problems, or issues are organized, represented, and

* Corresponding Author: Tarntip Chantaranima. Tel.: +66-8539-0915-4 E-mail address: fhon_tc@hotmail.com

1877-0428 © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of Academic World Education and Research Center. doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.01.227

adapted to the diverse interests and abilities of learning, and presented for instruction" and elaborated "the particular form of content knowledge that embodies the aspects most germane to its teachability."

The differences between general teachers and expert teachers may be explained using the concept of PCK. There are a number of studies about the PCK of pre-service or naïve teachers but not so many studies about the PCK of expert teachers. From the PCK concept defined by Shulman, particularly the knowledge domains that appear to contribute to a teacher's PCK, many related research have been conducted. For example, Gess-Newsome (1999) proposed two models of teacher knowledge. In the integrative model, PCK is the result of the inclusion of General Pedagogical Knowledge (GPK), subject matter knowledge (SMK) and General contextual knowledge (GCK) (PCK as a 'mixture'). In the transformative model, PCK is the result of the synthesis of these three components of teacher knowledge (PCK as a 'compound'). Gess-Newsome considered both models as the extremities of the PCK spectrum. Lee and Luft (2008) recommended that the integrative model may represent the PCK of pre-service teachers, while the transformative model may portray the PCK of in-service teachers. A recent study of student teachers' PCK supported this assumption (Nilsson, 2008) based on the five elements proposed by Magnusson et al. (1999) which was built on Grossman's (1990) idea that envisaged PCK as a transformation rather than a blend of knowledge. The proposition was that this originated from three rather than two knowledge domains which she identified as: (1) subject matter knowledge and beliefs, (2) pedagogical knowledge and beliefs, and (3) knowledge and beliefs about context and in their work went on to propose five elements of an experienced teacher's PCK:

- orientations towards science teaching

- knowledge of curriculum

- knowledge of assessment

- knowledge of students' understanding of science

- knowledge of instructional strategies

Since the basic notion of PCK created many and varied responses, it has been interpreted in different ways which demonstrated a complex nature of PCK. Consequently, specific tools are required to explore teachers' hidden PCK. De Jong and Halim (2009) suggested that some common tools for exploring PCK are questionnaires and interviews, the interest method, the critical incident method, the memorable event method, incident vignette method, stimulated recall method, CoRe and PaP-eRs method, and story-line method. The CoRe and PaP-eRs methods were used in this research to verify and test the PCK of an expert physics teacher and reported recognizable applications of PCK through the teacher's interactions with his students.

Since 2007, the 5E approach was introduced to Thai science teachers by the Institute for the Promotion of Teaching Science and Technology (IPST). The 5E cycle is the key to enhance students' capacity (Sinmann, 2009). The approach is an instructional model based on constructivist approach to learning. In this approach, it is believed that learners can build or construct new ideas base on their old ideas (De Jong & Halim, 2009)., 2011). Many 5E professional development programs were provided for in-service and pre-service teachers by IPST. The subject of this research attended this program many times. In addition, 7E approach was introduced to Thai master education student in the last few years which was during his time in graduate school. For this research, he also used 7E cycle in the classroom.

2. Methodology/Experimental design

The contact with this expert physics teacher was convenient because he works in the same city as the researcher and is also the researcher's neighbour (born in the same town). In Thai culture, it is easy for people from the same area to keep in touch. One of reason is because of the language. Apart an official Thai language that every Thai can understand, people also speak different dialects in different parts of Thailand. Another reason that the expert teacher was willing to provide his time to be involved in the research is because he hoped this study will help other teachers in some ways.

Firstly, the semi-structured interviews based on Loughran, Berry and Mullhall's (2006) Content Representation (CoRe) were conducted to understand the teacher's ideas for planning, designing, and presenting her

lesson plans. A recorder was used during the interviews and afterward the transcripts and documents were analyzed. The topic of "Ohm's law" was selected as an appropriate topic for this research. The preliminary data indicated that this expert used the 5E cycle in this topic and the lesson plans are in accordance to the curriculum goals, relevant assessment, and an instructional strategy which reflected the elements of PCK. Data triangulation was used to identify consistencies between lesson plans and learning and teaching in the classroom. The classroom observation took about four hours. In some cases extra data triangulation from documents, transcripts and re-interviews were required to confirm the data before reporting the observation.

3. Context

Mr.K, an expert Physics teacher who won the Thai Science teaching award (the highest national award) for physics teachers in secondary schools in the north-eastern Thailand that has approximately 2,600 students. He is 56 years old, has taught for 35 years and is the only teacher in the school who has won this award. The researcher observed a year 12 class of 32 students (both male and female) for one topic over four hours. The teacher used the 7E approach in this topic. In the following sections, the result and discussion are summarized in terms of 7E stages.

4. Results and Discussion

4.1 Elicitation phase

The goal of this phase is to verify the student prior understandings.

Students were asked a question. "In your daily life, what relates to electricity?" Most of them talked about electrical equipments such as television, refrigerator, washing machine, and so on. The teacher kept asking. "Where does electricity come from and how?" Some students said. "We can produce electricity from a dam but I don't know exactly how." Other students tried to explain how electricity was generated. "A big turbine was installed in a dam when water passes through it the turbine turns the motor." Because this class is a special class as every student has to pass an exam to enter and because they are 12 graders and the topic electricity has previously been introduced, they can answer the questions quite well. This kind of general questions asked by the expert teacher indicates the expert's knowledge of students' understanding of science. He prepared the students for this topic by asking simple questions and let them think about their prior knowledge. It is also a good way to keep them interested in the next phase.

4.2 Engagement phase

The goals of this phase are to provide students with experiences of the phenomenon or concept and to present the students with questions to test their understanding.

In this stage, video clips about electric eels and electric current from YouTube were shown. When each clip was over, students were asked to debate about what they saw in the clip and how it happened. The student were fascinated by the video clips and tried to explain what they think. They were asked about electricity and the relationship between electric current and electron. However, from the classroom observation, the students were asked to repeat equations involving electricity. This is like a kind of memory test from the content taught in previous classes. Although the lesson plan indicates the teacher expert's knowledge of instructional strategies and classroom management, the aspects were not clearly shown from the classroom observation.

4.3Exploration phase

The goals of this stage are to examine an alternative idea and collect information about the involved phenomenon by many ways such an experiment, a field trip and a computer simulation of literature data from various sources. The information is required for the next phase.

After finishing engagement phase, students were separated into groups of four to five students. Each group did an experiment by following the direction laboratories and then brainstormed to complete answers for the post

experiment questions. The teacher read direction laboratory out round and walked to each group to give suggestions. Some groups can work by themselves and finished their experiment quickly. Because of the teacher knowledge about student understanding, each group was allowed to do the experiment in their own speed such that the groups which can finish their experiment quickly do not need to wait for other groups. When the group has finalized their ideas, the teacher provided them with papers for them to fill in the post experiment questions.

4.4 Explanation Phase

The goals of this stage are to introduce conceptual tools that can be used to interpret the evidence and construct explanations of the phenomenon, construct multi-modal explanations, justify claims in terms of the evidence gathered, compare explanations generated by different students/groups and consider current scientific explanations.

The student handouts about metal conductor current were given to every student. Then the teacher explains how to calculate the current and gave examples. The explanations were given in a local dialect. This shows teacher knowledge about student understanding and the knowledge of instructional strategies.

4.5 Expansion Phase

The goals of this stage are to use and apply concepts and explanations in new contexts to test their general applicability. Reconstruction and extended explanations are used and so as an integration of different modes, such as written language, diagrammatic and graphic modes, and mathematics.

Students were assigned to plot a graph between current and voltage (I&V) by starting with the definition of x and y axes. After finishing the graph, the teacher asked for a trend of I&V graph and every group had the same trend. Then, another handout was given to every group with more exercise for students to complete. After that, the teacher and the students drew the experimental conclusion and made the Ohm's law representation by using a cartoon animation. Moreover, Ohm's biography was introduced which attracted great interests from students. This indicated the teacher knowledge about student understanding and knowledge of instructional strategies.

4.6 Evaluation Phase

The goals of this stage are to provide an opportunity for students to review and reflect on their own learning and new understandings and skills, and to provide evidence for changes to their understandings, beliefs and skills.

More exercises in English version were supplied to students. This indicates the teacher's knowledge of purposes and goals for teaching science because his school is preparing to be an ASEAN School which requires one of his school goals to be enhancing students' language skills by integrating English into teaching Physics.

4.7 Extension Phase

The goals of this stage are to provide opportunities for students to apply what they have learned to make the application on a daily life and encourage students to apply the knowledge gained to create their new knowledge.

The students' group task was to find information about daily instruments which use the theory of electric current, conductor and Ohm's law then compile it in their own term. They have one week to finish it. Ten minutes before the class is over, students did a post-test. This indicates the teacher's knowledge of instructional assessment.

5. Conclusion

The following conclusions are drawn based on the findings of the study. The teacher's PCK elements indicated in this case study confirms his expertise in the teaching of science as indicated in the following table.

Tarntip Chantaranima and Chokchai Yuenyong /Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 116 (2014) 389 - 393 Table 1: Five PCK elements (Magnussen, et al. 1999) and 7E Stages of Teaching

7E stages orientations curriculum assessment Student Instructional _understanding_Strategies

1.Elicitation V V

2.Engagement V

3.Exploration V

4.Explanation V V

5. Expansion V V

6. Evaluation V

7. Extension V

Furthermore, student understanding is the element which this expert teacher always keeps in mind. Other studies also indicate that to develop PCK, teachers need to think about learners first, then to focus on their teaching (Schneider and Plasman, 2011). This expert thinking is based on constructivism and concerns about learning the nature of science. Students can develop an understanding of the nature of science by doing science, and they thereby construct their knowledge in a social context. This expert teacher would not answer students directly but would answer by asking another question. Moreover, there were many hands-on activities in his class which maintained the students' interest, indicating that this expert teach has a sound knowledge about the learners.

A goal of the next study is to find the patterns of how PCK develops over a teacher's career, and then design programs and experiences that move teachers into advanced levels of PCK.

Acknowledgements

T. Chantaranima would like to thank the IPST and the Thai government for providing the Project for promotion of Science and Mathematics Talented Teachers (PSMT) scholarship since the bachelor's degree.

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