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Abstract Title: Instructional Pragmatism: Using a Variety of Evidence-Based Approaches Flexibly to Improve Student Learning
Abstract: Instructional pragmatism is essential for successfully adopting and adapting evidence-based active engagement (EBAE) approaches in that instructors should view improving teaching and learning as a process and not get disheartened if a particular EBAE approach does not produce the desired outcome. Instructional pragmatism entails keeping a variety of EBAE methods in one's instructional toolbox and using them flexibly as needed to improve student learning and continuously refining and tweaking one's implementation of the EBAE approaches to make them effective. Here we illustrate an example of instructional pragmatism in which a quantum mechanics instructor did not give up when an EBAE method involving implementation of a sequence of clicker questions on addition of angular momentum did not yield expected learning outcomes even though it was found effective earlier. Instead, the instructor remained optimistic, viewing improving teaching and learning as a process, and pulled out another EBAE method from his tool box that did not require him to spend more time on this topic in class. In particular, the instructor created an opportunity for students to productively struggle with the same problems they had not performed well on by incentivizing them to correct their mistakes out of class. Student performance on one of the addition of angular momentum problems posed on the final exam suggests that students who corrected their mistakes benefited from the task and learned about addition of angular momentum better than those who did not correct their mistakes. Encouraging and supporting physics instructors to embrace instructional pragmatism can go a long way in helping students learn physics because it is likely to increase their persistence in using various EBAE approaches flexibly as they refine and tweak their implementation for their students. We thank the National Science Foundation for support.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation
Session Time: Poster Session III
Poster Number: 3.L1
Contributed Paper Record: Contributed Paper Information
Contributed Paper Download: Download Contributed Paper

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Paul Justice
University of Cincinnati
Cincinnati, OH 45221
Phone: 2707923461
and Co-Presenter(s)
Emily Marshman, University of Pittsburgh
Chandralekha Singh, University of Pittsburgh