Encyclopedia of Science Education

Living Edition
| Editors: Richard Gunstone

Physics Teacher Education

  • Pamela Mulhall
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-6165-0_231-4


Learning to teach; Pedagogy; Physics; Teacher education

Physics teacher education shares similar concerns to programs for preparing teachers of other science disciplines through its fundamental focus on student-centered teaching. However, there are important differences between physics and the other science disciplines, and these strongly influence the pedagogy of physics teacher education (Tiberghien et al. 1997, 1998).

How Physics Differs from Other Sciences

Physics is regarded as the most fundamental science. It has a reputation as being abstruse, difficult, and highly mathematical. It differs from the other science disciplines in a range of ways. For example, although common in biology, teleological explanations are unacceptable in physics because of their anthropomorphic connotations. Physics has relatively few theories and their predictive power is strong; by contrast biology has many theories but their predictive capacity is often lacking. Logic and parsimony are highly...


Preservice Teacher Science Teacher Teaching Physic Conceptual Understanding Pedagogical Content Knowledge 
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  1. Loughran J, Berry A, Mulhall P (2012) Understanding and developing science teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge, 2nd edn. Sense Publishers, RotterdamCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Mulhall P, Gunstone R (2012) Views about learning physics held by physics teachers with differing approaches to teaching physics. J Sci Teach Educ 23(5):429–449CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Tiberghien A, Jossem EL, Barojas J (eds) (1997, 1998) Connecting research in physics education with teacher education. Published by the International Commission on Physics Education (ICPE). http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi= Accessed 25 Mar 2014

Copyright information

© © Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Australia 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Monash UniversityClaytonAustralia