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Teacher In Residence(TIR)

The Teacher in Residence (TIR)

Working teachers at all levels have a wealth of practical experience in the education of students of differing backgrounds and ages and in school systems with different resource levels. A effective educational experience involving college students may not provide a working model for an effective experience for middle school students. One of the primary goals of the PhysTEC project is to restructure university science classes so that all classes, but primarily those classes taken by future teachers, are a good model of interactive inquiry based learning. To be useful to future teachers, this good model must incorporate experise of working teachers.




Teachers in Residence at Arkansas

After serving as part-time Teacher-in-Residence (TIR) in 2001, Marc Reif from nearby Fayetteville High School became a full-time TIR in the summer of 2002. Marc continues to teach two classes at FHS.This arrangement addresses concerns of the district administration and provided Marc the opportunity to work on ideas for revisions to the College Physics lab manual with high school Advanced Placement physics students.

Mark Thompson, a 2002 UA Physics BS graduate is serving as Marc’s replacement at Fayetteville High School. Early in the semester these two, along with FHS physics teacher David A. Young met as often as every day, in order to successfully implement a curriculum based on the Modeling Method. They continue to have weekly meetings and are using the Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol (RTOP) to evaluate each other's lessons.

In the fall, Marc teamed with Gay Stewart to pilot modeling methods in the group problem sessions of the introductory calculus-based mechanics course, UPI. Whiteboard presentations of group problems were instituted with great success.The students appreciated the opportunity to demonstrate their skills in front of their peers, and enjoyed questioning each other's presentations. Other lab instructors for the course observed the whiteboard sessions and are now using the technique in the second semester. Physics and Human Affairs is a one-semester conceptual course that is currently undergoing This course is required for middle level education majors, and strongly recommended for elementary and secondary. The lab section of the course is designed with education majors in mind. The lab activities are guided inquiry activities, so that the lab section of the course models best practice. For prospective teachers, there is a separate edition of the lab manual with answers to all questions, and supplementary material (This teacher's edition is presented at the end of the course). The TIR completed an update of both versions of the current lab manual (implemented Spring 2003), and made a list of suggested modifications.

In the fall, the TIR worked with the middle level science methods course (see CIED 5243). He presented several lessons from the Powerful Ideas in Physical Science curriculum. In the spring, the TIR met with the secondary level methods class and made plans to participate in the elementary science education course (see CIED 4128).

It is hoped that future TIRs will be supported for the summer following their TIR academic year though a state or federally funded research opportunity for teacher programs, where they could work with a physics faculty member of their choice. This would give them a chance to "do science", with the understanding on the part of their mentor that they would need some time for presentations for the summer methods class for preservice middle level teachers.

Starting in the second year, as course development issues are reduced in the science methods courses, the TIR will become actively involved in placing resource materials on the server we will develop for physical science teachers. The role of the TIR will further evolve in subsequent years. They will become more involved in coordinating outreach to their fellow teachers, helping us to build a professional community.

Pending agreement with the district, another physics teacher from Fayetteville High School, David A. Young, has agreed to be the TIR for next year. David has taught math, science, computer science, and technology at the middle school, junior high, and senior high levels for nearly 30 years. David specializes in integrating technology as a tool for thinking. He is known throughout Arkansas as an innovator in using graphing calculators and computers as a means of getting students to think about concepts and reflect on the meaning of what they are doing.

David grew up in Hot Springs, Arkansas, and holds a BS in mathematics from Arkansas State University and a MS in Physics from Mississippi State University. From 1995 until 1997, David worked at the Arkansas School for Mathematics and Sciences, creating their mathematics computer lab. The author of four books of lesson ideas for graphing calculators, he also consults for Texas Instruments and presents workshops nationwide for Teachers Teaching with Technology. He is the recipient of many grants and awards.

Each TIR is chosen considering his or her desire to become a mentor to other teachers in the area, and across the state. These mentoring relationships can be developed while new teachers are pre-service, and continued through regional AAPT meetings, workshops, and electronically through e-mail and the server. While the early TIR's are secondary teachers, it is planned that their involvement with the elementary and middle school methods faculty and courses will help make them a rich resource for teachers at all levels, upon returning to their school districts. One of the responsibilities of the TIRs will be to mentor their replacements, providing support through that important first year of induction. The opportunity for impact is enhanced by the new freeway (I-540), which makes one of the two largest school districts in the state only an hour away. The other large school district is about 20 minutes away.