Article ID: CBB763880389

A Brief History of Physics Education in the United States (2015)


In order to provide insight into current physics teaching practices and recommended reforms, we outline the history of physics education in the United States—and the accompanying pedagogical issues and debates—over the period 1860–2014. We identify key events, personalities, and issues for each of ten separate time periods, comparing and contrasting the outlooks and viewpoints of the different eras. This discussion should help physics educators to (1) become aware of previous research in physics education and of the major efforts to transform physics instruction that have taken place in the U.S., (2) place the national reform movements of today, as well as current physics education research, in the context of past efforts, and (3) evaluate the effectiveness of various education transformation efforts of the past, so as better to determine what reform methods might have the greatest chances of success in the future.

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Authors & Contributors
Robert McCaughey
Popkewitz, Thomas S.
Boesch, Brandon
Peter Tufano
Berry, Michelle K.
Medwed, Karen
Transversal: International Journal for the Historiography of Science
British Journal for the History of Science
Science and Education
Histoire & Mesure
Business History Review
Transaction Publishers
Walden University
University of Wisconsin at Madison
Northeastern University
Yale University Press
W. W. Norton & Co.
Teaching; pedagogy
Primary and secondary education
Bertin, Pierre
Almeida, Joseph-Charles d'
Skinner, Burrhus Frederic
Dewey, John
Galilei, Galileo
Bunge, Mario
Time Periods
21st century
20th century
19th century
20th century, early
United States
Québec (Canada)
Latin America
Société française de physique
Université de France
Texas A&M University
Columbia University
Harvard University
École Normale Supérieure, Paris

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