The Relationship between UPSI Lecturers' Perceptions of their Teaching Practices and Students' Conceptions of Force and Motion

By Nurulhuda Abd Rahman, Jaafar Jantan, Shahrul Kadri Ayop, Mohd Mustamam Abd Karim, Noor Azman Razalee, Roszairi Haron and Abu Bakar Rejab.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This research investigated the effect of instruction on student teachers' understanding of force and motion. Lecturers’ perceptions of their teaching practices during lecture session provided data on how lecture was conducted and this was then compared to students’ understanding. Students’ understanding was also compared to their demographic variables such as gender and academic performance. 347 students from diverse groups and 5 lecturers participated in the study. Results show that student teachers at UPSI hold strong Aristotelian beliefs about force and motion which are not in line with the currently accepted scientific beliefs. It also suggests that traditional instruction had little effect on changing the students’ beliefs. In addition, lecturers perceived their teaching practices as traditional 'chalk-and-talk' where students sit passively in lecture halls with minimal interactivity. The study also found that there is no significant relationship between students’ scientific beliefs and their gender or academic performance.

Keywords: Student Learning Difficulties, Physics Instruction Teacher Education, Higher Education, Teacher Perception

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp.255-266. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 663.328KB).

Dr. Nurulhuda Abd Rahman

Senior Lecturer, Physics Department, Faculty of Science and Technology, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Tanjong Malim, Perak, Malaysia

The author is a senior lecturer at Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI), teaching prospective teachers for placement in public schools throughout the country (Malaysia). She received her PhD from the University of Manchester, UK in the field of Physics Education with a focus on teaching and learning particular concepts in physics which most students and teachers alike find problematic to understand fully. Her research interest is investigating teachers' pedagogical content knowledge specific to understanding misconceptions in physics learning and strategies that are most likely to be fruitful in overcoming them with the eventual aim of reforming the way physics is taught at the tertiary level towards a more active-learning and student centered lecture session. She is also interested in how the teacher education programme might be redesigned to encourage the development of competent and reflective professional teachers.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Jaafar Jantan

Associate Professor, Universiti Teknologi Mara, Shah Alam, Malaysia

The author received his Masters degree in condensed matter physics in 1985 from the physics department Kansas State University and returned to Malaysia to be trained as a certified high school teacher. In 1987, he began his career as a lecturer at Universiti Teknologi MARA. He later obtained his doctoral degree in physics education under the guidance of the distinguished Professor Dean Zollman of Kansas State University. Since he returned to Malaysia in 1995, he has been involved with research in the teaching and learning of physics and chemistry. He translated the revised Force Concept Inventory into the Malay language which is now being used for this work and other research which is yet to be published. On many occasions, he was invited to give talks as both keynote speaker and as an invited speaker in addition to leading workshop at the local, national and international level. He developed the Peer-Facilitating-Learning-Cycle materials which he used for the teaching of thermodynamics (unpublished) and is now developing active learning lab materials for the learning of electricity and magnetism. He received nomination at both the national and international level for his active role in making science learning more effective and understandable for both students and the public.

Shahrul Kadri Ayop

Lecturer, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Malaysia

Sharul Kadri Ayop is a physics lecturer with Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris and has been teaching physics for science student teachers since 2002. He received a First Class Honors undergraduate degree in Industrial Physics from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and MSc in Physics from Leipzig University, Germany. He has been involved in research on non-destructive testing using ultrasonics for liquid characterization and optical manipulation on microbead. As a young lecturer, he is very much interested in studying the modern way of teaching physics as opposed to the traditional ‘talk and chalk’ method. He advocates the idea of the active learning method by incorporating technology as the teaching aids. He has experimented using Peer Instruction method in his class and also using Physlet® as a teaching tools. And the outcomes have been very encouraging.

Prof. Dr. Mohd Mustamam Abd Karim

Professor, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Malaysia

Mohd Mustamam Abd Karim is a Professor in Physics specializing in materials in the Faculty of Science and Technology, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Malaysia. He received his undergraduate degree in physics from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and his MSc in physics from Ohio University, USA. He earned his PhD in Physics from University of Warwick, United Kingdom. He has been teaching introductory physics and various advanced physics courses to science and engineering students at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia and Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris for almost 21 years. He has been involved in research on glass and advanced ceramics and also performed consulting research works on glass manufacturing. In 2002 he began to turn his interest to Physics Education Research focusing on two major thrusts: (i) studying the concepts that students hold about physical world and how those concepts are altered as a result of various methods of teaching and (ii) studying the problem solving techniques and strategies of students.

Noor Azman Razalee

Lecturer, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Malaysia

He is a physics lecturer at Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris since its first inception in the year 1997. He was a high school physics teacher for 7 years before he joined the university. He holds a M.Sc. degree in Physics from the University of Missouri at Kansas City, USA. His research interest is mainly in investigating how assessment influence students learning and how the curriculum may be reformed so that content, strategies and assessments complement each other to produce quality teaching scholarship.

Roszairi Haron

Lecturer, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Malaysia

Roszairi Haron is currently employed as a lecturer with Physics Department, Faculty Science and Technology, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI). He has been working with the department since July 2003. He studied applied physics at University of Malaya and received his Master of Science (M.Sc.) in the field of Solid State Physics from University of Malaya in 2005. His current research is to develop a web-based material in teaching physics and comparing students’ achievement using the web-based material to traditional instructor-led training. He is also interested in investigating students’ misconceptions in physics.

Dr. Abu Bakar Rejab

Lecturer, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, Malaysia

Dr. Abu Bakar Rejab has been with Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris (UPSI)for almost 6 years. He received his Ph.D from University of London, UK in the field of Solid State Physics and Instrumentation. His research interests are the development of thin film gas sensors, materials characterization,spectroscopy and microscopy of condensed materials and physics education.

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