Attending and Responding to Students' Epistemologies in Physics Instruction

Plenary Speaker
David Hammer
University of Maryland

Research on student learning in physics has raised awareness of students’ intuitive “epistemologies,” which is to say the students’ sense of what knowledge and learning in physics entail. For many students, that sense is problematic: They approach learning as if the material is made up of facts and formulas to memorize, with little connection to each other or to what they know about the world from everyday experience. I will show examples from students’ work in college physics classes that illustrate the role of intuitive epistemologies, as well as examples from students’ work at younger grades, and discuss some ways instruction can have an influence.

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