How Classroom Practice Affects Knowledge Retention: Teaching Mechanics Interactively
?How Classroom Practice Affects Knowledge Retention: Teaching Mechanics? Interactively?
?The A-Levels Mathematics module.
When teaching the Mechanics 1 module (M1) to Year 11, a large deal of intimidation develops among pupils with uncertainly towards treating the module as a physics or a mathematics course. Knowledge retention seems to take a much slower pace than that observed in other modules like C1 and C2 or in chemistry and physics courses taught to the same group. How to tackle this intimidation and turn the M1 experience enjoyable to them?
I have been frustrated by the pupils? intimidation by M1, even by those who show fairly better performance in physics and/or chemistry. Does it have to do with the maths teachers themselves and their understanding of physics from an applied mathematical point of view? Or is it coming from a school-wide issue of introducing each subject as a stand-alone material with no interdisciplinary connection established therefore? What is it in a physics teacher doing the same topic that a maths teacher fails to deliver? Conceptual understanding in mechanics is key to coaching pupils the art of critical thinking and developing their visual skills. It helps them imagine the invisible world of chemistry, the abstract fluctuations in finance, and also value the theories of mathematics.
A combination of the empiricist and the constructivist viewpoints of student understanding models are relevant to the research approach here. Mechanics is a thoroughly applied module whereby ideas cannot be believed as innate. They rather be attained as an empirical knowledge by practise and experience (empiricist), and developed in connection with what is already known from both physics and maths (constructivist/scaffolding).
The paper is to show the usage of data of two groups of pupils who took the same module with me in the same semester (first semester of this year), and compare their performance and measure their understanding in the topic of resolving forces in two and three dimensions based on the different approaches I had used ? very interactively with one group and very classical book-and-notes approach with the other. Their performance and understanding are reflected in their test and final exam results, as well as in their own account of the questions and the topic. That is, data has been collected through the pupils course work marks (tests, projects, participation, homework, as well as final exam), and my job as the teacher will be to analyse the data in parallel with my current and upcoming readings, and establish the connection with the theory and models of student understanding and learning presented in the module.
The paper also is to show that the research is conducted through observing performances and measuring understanding and achievements based upon different approaches of teaching one particular topic. Anonymity is guaranteed as no names or identities need to be revealed. Participants were not requested to do anything beyond the regular class requirements of participation, attendance, group work, discuss the topic matter, and finish their homework. Hence their welfare was protected.