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Abstract Title: The views of pre-service physics teachers on the role of mathematics in the teaching and learning of physics
Abstract: Mathematics is commonly seen as playing a fundamental role in the understanding of undergraduate physics. However, this role poses challenges for teaching physics at lower levels. In England, increased formal assessment of mathematical skills in national physics examinations has made many teachers (re)consider this issue and their classroom practice.

This qualitative study explores how English physics teachers view the physics/mathematics relationship. Our data consists of questionnaires and follow up interviews with an entire cohort of pre-service teachers training at an English university (n=13). Analysis included a line of enquiry on the tension between the value of mathematics in undergraduate physics and its value for teaching physics at school level.

There was considerable variation across respondents, some seeing mathematics as integral to understanding school physics, whilst others prioritised conceptual understanding over mathematical formalism. Many noted how their views had changed during training, raising questions for those involved in physics teacher preparation.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation
Session Time: Poster Session I
Poster Number: A18

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: James de Winter
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Uppsala University
Physics Education Research
Uppsala University, Box 516
Uppsala, Non U.S. SE-751 20
Phone: 018-471 3539
and Co-Presenter(s)
John Airey
Department of Physics and Astronomy, Uppsala University
john.airey -at- physics.uu.se

Contributed Poster

Contributed Poster: Download the Contributed Poster