Some Learning Problems Concerning the Use of Symbolic Language in Physics


This paper aims to draw the attention of teachers of basic university physics courses towards students' problems concerning the interpretation of the symbolic language used in the discipline. Specific difficulties found in the first course of physics, related to different kinds of statements expressed in mathematical language, are pointed out and analysed, and some suggestions are made to cope with them during instruction. It could be concluded that teachers may need only to reflect and comment on the virtues of making explicit the semantic and syntactic aspects of formal languages as they teach physics.

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De Lozano, S.R., Cardenas, M. Some Learning Problems Concerning the Use of Symbolic Language in Physics. Science & Education 11, 589–599 (2002).

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  • Formal Language
  • Learn Problem
  • Specific Difficulty
  • Mathematical Language
  • Symbolic Language