Brown Bag Series: Integrating Experimental Research Practices: Teachers' Professional Development in Two Significantly Different Educational Settings By Edit Yerushalmi & Smadar Levy

Wednesday, January 20, 2021 12:00pm - 1:00pm

Zoom Meeting - Virtual

Representing authentic research practices in high school science labs is challenged by a variety of structural constraints, from high-stakes exams to limited resources of the instructional lab. These constraints favor closely prescribed rather than open-ended tasks involving iterative inquiry processes. We will present two studies of long-term professional development programs aimed at better representing experimental research practices in high school physics instruction. The two programs are situated in significantly different settings: a) Professional Learning Communities of physics teachers, where the focus of the study is on teachers introducing changes to their instructional labs. In particular, incorporating inquiry practices while taking into account the tight constraints of the Israeli national high-stakes final exams; b) Research Physics Training Program, where the focus of the study is on teachers that mentor student-teams carrying out long-term research projects leading to an additional matriculation credit. We studied teachers' change processes in these two settings, the challenges that they faced, and their responses to these challenges. We will discuss commonalities and differences between the two settings, and draw conclusions regarding achievable goals and pedagogical means to meet them.

Prof. Edit Yerushalmi heads the Physics Education Research group at Weizmann Institute of Science. The group is involved in research, curricular design, and operation of nation-wide professional development frameworks. Current projects include: the “Research Physics" training program for high school teachers; "Gateway to Physics" inquiry units for middle school physics; "Interdisciplinary Computational Science" new school subject; the National network of Physics Professional learning communities; and the national Physics teacher center. Dr. Smadar Levy's main interest is the professional development of physics teachers and teacher-leaders in continuing in-service frameworks. She leads and studies the Israeli network of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) for high school physics teachers, operated by the Physics Education Research group at the Department of Science Teaching at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Join us remotely via webinar! Go to:


Who to contact:

Colleen McDermott