Developing and evaluating a research-based teaching-learning sequence on the moment of force.

University of Jyväskylä, Finland

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Abstract

The purpose of the study was to determine how the understanding of moment of force and its applications can be improved by developing and evaluating a teaching-learning sequence on the moment of force in physiotherapy training. In order to answer the research problem, an eight lesson teaching-learning sequence was designed and consequently tested and developed in two pilot studies and two teaching experiments. Twenty-two physiotherapy students participated in the first pilot study, 19 physiotherapy students in the second pilot study and 23 physiotherapy students in each of the teaching experiments. In the pilot studies the researcher worked as a teacher and in the teaching experiments the teaching-learning sequence was implemented by two teachers (transfer teachers) in two Finnish polytechnic schools. The model of educational reconstruction was used in designing, developing and evaluating the teaching-learning sequence.

The success in developing the teaching-learning sequence was evaluated on the basis of implementation of the teaching-learning sequence, students’ learning, and conceptions of teachers and students participating in the teaching experiments. The data were gathered in pre- and post-tests, by interviewing teachers and students and by observing and videotaping lessons. The data were analysed using both qualitative and quantitative methods.

Evaluation of the implementation of the teaching-learning sequence was based on how teachers who were not involved in the design of the teaching-learning sequence were able to follow the guidance notes and to implement the teaching-learning sequence. The teaching-learning sequence was also evaluated by analysing how the teachers followed the guidance given of talk types, and what kind of teacher talk types they used in different teaching situations. The classification of teacher talk followed the method of Viiri and Saari (2004, in press).

Considering the implementation of the teaching-learning sequence, the development can be regarded as successful, as both transfer teachers followed the guidance notes quitewell. The teacher in the second teaching experiment followed the guidance notes better than in the first, which have may resulted from the adjustment of the guidance notes following the first teaching experiment. Apart from a few teaching situations, the teachers also followed the guidance concerning teacher talk types quite accurately. Depending on the teaching situation, the teacher of the second teaching experiment often followed a certain “rhythm” and the teacher used different teacher talk types, taking into account the teaching purposes and goals.

Changes in the students’ understanding of moment of force were studied by analysing students’ answers in pre- and post- tests. The levels of understanding of seven topics related to the concept of moment of force were defined for every student before and after the teaching-learning sequence. The students’ understanding of the topics was categorized by five levels of understanding. The lowest level was known as the “zero level” and the highest “application level”.

In the second teaching experiment, all students showed an increase in understanding concepts relating to moment of force and especially its applications. In the first teaching experiment the understanding of 20 students increased. The students also had fewer misconceptions after the teaching-learning sequence than they had before the teaching-learning sequence. The students’ results in the second teaching experiment were better than in the first teaching experiment, which supports the success of the development of the teaching-learning sequence.

In the second teaching experiment, the implementation of the teaching-learning sequence and students’ learning was studied by choosing critical episodes of the teaching-learning sequence. The aim was to determine how the choice of critical episodes can be applied in designing, developing and implementing the teaching-learning sequence. In this study the critical episode is identified as a period of teaching that is important from the perspective of aims and implementation of the teaching-learning sequence and from the perspective of students’ learning. Collectively, the critical episodes form a diverse entity that in their aims and methods represent the whole teaching-learning sequence. Six critical episodes were chosen in analysing the teaching-learning sequence on moment of force.

According to conceptions of teachers and students that participated in the teaching experiments, the development of the teaching-learning sequence can be considered a success, as the teachers and students were satisfied with the teaching-learning sequence, especially the teaching methods. They were also satisfied that the concepts that were studied were closely related to practical situations in physiotherapy. The conceptions of transfer teachers and students had an important meaning in developing the teaching- learning sequence, because one aim of the study was to design and develop lesson materials and guidance notes for teaching the concept of moment of force. Lesson materials and guidance notes can be used in physiotherapy training, and some parts of the lesson materials and the guidance notes could also be used for physics lessons in upper secondary school and in vocational training. In this study, both transfer teachers were satisfied with the lesson materials and guidance notes. According to the teachers, the lesson materials and guidance notes helped them to piece together the teaching-learning sequence as a whole, to use different teaching methods and to emphasize the most important parts of the teaching-learning sequence.

Though the development of the teaching-learning sequence on moment of force can be considered successful, several facts came to light in this study that may help to further develop the implementation of the teaching-learning sequence and to support students’ learning. The model of educational reconstruction in developing the teaching-learning sequence seemed to work, both from the perspective of research and from the perspective of research results.

The results of this study can be applied in physiotherapy training, in physics teaching in the upper secondary school and in vocational training and also in the research of physics teaching. The model of developing the research-based teaching-learning sequence, choosing and analysing the critical episodes and the study of the teacher talk is meaningful from the perspective of teaching, especially teaching of science and also from the perspective of research into teaching.

Key words: teaching of physics, moment of force, educational reconstruction, physiotherapy training, teacher talk

Full reference for the thesis
Nurkka, N. 2006. Voiman momentin tutkimusperustaisen opetusjakson kehittäminen ja arviointi. (Developing and evaluating a research-based teaching-learning sequence on the moment of force.) Research report No. 10/2006, Department of Physics, University of Jyväskylä, Finland. ISSN 0075-465X, ISBN 951-39-2545-5. 248 pages. (in Finnish)

Some references

Nurkka, N. 2005. Designing and evaluating a research-based teaching-learning sequence on the moment of force. In Fischer, H. E. (ed.) Developing standards in research on science education, 179 - 186. Taylor & Francis Group. London. UK.

Nurkka, N., Viiri, J. 2005. Designing and evaluating a research-based teaching-learning sequence on the moment of force. In Pintó, R. ja Couso, D. (eds.) Proceedings of the Fifth International ESERA Conference on Contributions of Research to Enhancing Students’ Interest in Learning Science, 692 - 695. Barcelona. Spain.

Correspondence
Niina Nurkka
Jysinmäentie 17
54230 Nuijamaa
FINLAND
phone +358 40 582 5100
e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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