Asia-Pacific Forum on Science Learning and Teaching, Volume 9, Issue 1, Article 3 (June, 2008)
Wheijen CHANG
Challenges encountered in implementing constructivist teaching in physics: A qualitative approach

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Methodology

The data of this study were from seven open-ended questionnaire surveys throughout the five years of implementation. Details of the surveys are listed in Table 1.

Table 1. Time, purpose, and number of participants of the seven surveys from 2000 to 2004

Survey code

2000A

2000B

2001A

2001B

2002

2003

2004

Time of the survey

11/2000

10/2001

4/2002

10/2002

4/2003

4/2004

11/2004

Number of participants

106

106

112

137

108

156

111

Purpose

Midterm exam reflections

Post semester reflections

Midterm exam reflections

Post semester reflections

Midterm exam reflections

Midterm exam reflections

Midterm exam reflection

Each year, different groups of students responded to the questionnaire survey, while the repeated investigations within the same year comprised of the same cohort of participants. For example, 2000A and 2000B were based on the opinions of the same group of students.

The questions for the midterm examination reflection included the studentsí reflection on their learning commitments and strategies as well as suggestions for improving the teaching design, namely, assessment orientation, teaching content, and teaching approaches. The post-semester surveys asked the students to comment on the strengths and weaknesses of the overall course.

To analyze the results of the seven open-ended surveys, the studentsí opinions are grouped with respect to three aspects: (1) the interactive teaching approach, (2) the adoption of real-life teaching content, and (3) the open-form assessment policy. The categories were selected based on three reasons, (1) the key features of the researcherís teaching program, (2) the foci of the studentsí comments, and (3) the trends of physics teaching innovations found in the literature (e.g., Redish, 1996). Some responses reflect the studentsí perceptions and attitudes towards the course overall rather than being focused on one aspect. These comments are categorized into their main concerns according to the authorís interpretations of the individualís overall comments.

Finally, quantitative analysis of the positive /negative opinions ratio was applied to reveal the trends of studentsí satisfaction with the teaching design and performance within the five years of investigation and modification.

 


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