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Abstract Title: “It’s okay to be wrong”: Identity development in the TXST LA program
Abstract: We analyze the experience of students in the Physics Learning Assistant program at Texas State University in terms of the existing theoretical frameworks of community of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991) and physics identity (Hazari et al., 2010). We find that changes in practice facilitated by the LA program shift LAs' sense of community membership and their understanding of what comprises competent physics participation. In interviews and written reflections, LAs report that participation in the LA community changes their ways of learning and of being a student, including shifts toward believing that diversity of ideas and approaches is valuable for learning and that it's "okay to be wrong" and to ask for help. This suggests that the LA experience contributes to shifting students from fixed mindset to growth mindset learning orientation (Dweck, 1986). These findings show that a focus on supporting community membership is useful for effective LA program design.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Eleanor W. Close
Texas State University
Department of Physics
601 University Drive
San Marcos, TX 78666
Phone: 512-245-8664
and Co-Presenter(s)
Jessica Conn, Texas State University
Hunter G. Close, Texas State University