For this post, there are two options:
Hello I am Dr. Valentin Voroshilov.
Since my graduation with my Masters in theoretical physics I’ve been teaching algebra based physics, calculus based physics, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, even logic, and problem solving. I also have a PhD in education with the concentration in teacher professional development. I have developed and taught courses to middle and high school teachers. I also developed and taught a physics course for students with learning disabilities. So, I know a thing or two about teaching, and I am good at that. My website GoMars.XYZ provides all information about me (Why “GoMars”? Because it’s easy to remember!).
Well, I guess, if you are still watching that means you too understand what I’m saying.
The first time I realized that I was good at teaching was a long time ago. I was teaching physics to two-year college students. It was the first or second week of the course. The class had to solve some problems, and every student had to show the work to me. A girl was walking to me slouching and scared. She handed me her notebook. I looked at it. The solution was absolutely correct. I said “You are absolutely right, that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be done”. Her face lightens up, she smiles, and she says “I wouldn’t ever think that I could solve a physics problem on my own.”
Since then every time when I begin teaching a new course, I look at my students, and I see an anxiety or even fear in many eyes. Based on my surveys, student feedback, and just everyday conversations with students, I know that many of them are scared of physics, they think physics is too difficult, and they can’t get a good grade in physics.
That is why at the very beginning of every physics course I always tell my students “You can learn physics. Everybody can learn physics. Everyone who knows a multiplication table, and can solve a quadratic equation can learned a high level of physics - like quantum gravitation. And everyone can get an A. Different people may need different time and effort to get it, but everyone in this room can succeeded in a physics course. If someone tells you that physics is hard, and you can’t learn it, that person is a liar, or a bad teacher, or he or she just wants to feel better about themselves. “I know physics, I’m so smart.”
There is a lot of competition in a “science” of teaching physics. Some people compete for a fame like actors compete for an Oscar.
Most of my students by the end of a course change the perception of physics from “hard” to “doable”, and a perception of themselves from “I can’t do physics” to “I’m actually smarter than I thought!”
I always say that to learn how to solve a problem about walking a rope is much easier and faster than to learn how to walk a rope.
Learning physics is like learning a foreign language. You need to memorize a set of new words. And you need to be able to look around, to see things, to name those things, to classify those things and relationships between those things. As a school subject, physics is uniquely positioned as a bridge between an abstract world of mathematics and real world of actual phenomena.
Nowadays, physics is used far beyond just physics and engineering. It has entered business, medicine, even sport – and this is the first answer to “WHY students need to learn physics”.
I want to finish this video with a question “If everyone can learn physics, does it mean that everyone can teach it?” The answer is “No”. Why? For a short answer, I recommend to read the “Fundamental Laws of TeachOlogy”. It takes just five minutes. For the full discussion please read my book “Becoming a STEM teacher” which is available on Amazon.com or Smashwords.com, or NoiseTrade.com, and almost free. Or just call me and we will talk.
Appendix: Physics v. Computer Coding
(a.k.a. a “scientific thinking” v. “computational thinking”)
Nowadays computer coding, or “computational thinking” enjoy a broad attention, an ideological and financial support from all levels of government and philanthropy.
According to the Wikipedia: “Computational Thinking is the thought processes involved in formulating a problem and expressing its solution(s) in such a way that a computer—human or machine—can effectively carry out. Computational Thinking is an iterative process based on three stages: 1) Problem Formulation (abstraction), 2) Solution Expression (automation), and 3) Solution Execution & Evaluation (analyses)”.
Simply, computational thinking has two parts: developing the solution of a problem (a.k.a thinking, or reasoning), and coding (translating into computer operations) that solution using a language understandable by a computer.
The later part – coding – relies mostly on memorizing lines of computer commands (or, if using a high-level object oriented programming – memorizing a set of programming operations).
Imagine that you want to learn a foreign language, and you memorized the whole dictionary, so you can translate – both ways – any individual word. You still will not be able to read, or write, or talk, because you do not know how to compose a correct sentence – for that you also need to know the grammar of the language (and to practice). Exactly the same situation happens, if you learn all coding commands, but cannot develop a correct algorithm which represents the solution of a problem you need to solve.
That is why the first part of the definition of the computational thinking – “formulating a problem and expressing its solution” – is the most important part of the “ computational thinking” process.
And this is the part which is lacking in school education.
And this is the part, teaching of which requires the most of the effort of a teacher.
And this is the part which represents the type of a scientific thinking, which has a natural place and natural development when study physics (BTW: in “computational thinking”, “scientific thinking, “critical thinking”, etc. the most important part of a definition is “thinking”).
When learning how to solve a problem about how to walk a rope, and when learning how to solve ANY physics problems, a student – under the guidance of an experienced teacher – uses and develops his or her problem-solving abilities, which have a universal nature, or meta-nature (click here for more on what does it mean thinking as a physicist).
Everyone who learns physics, automatically develops the most important part of a computational thinking (a.k.a. thinking!), and can easily learn computer coding – the opposite is just not true (and this is the second answer to “WHY students need to learn physics”).
a link to a presentation on the matter:
on how "cyber thinking" rows from thinking: