9. DIDACTICAL PHYSICS

Kaarle Kurki-Suonio, Heimo Saarikko, Riitta Kurki-Suonio, Ari Hämäläinen, Seppo Andersson, Juho Tiili

The group has continued its "Project of Perceptional Approach", i.e. search of constructive principles of teaching based on the conceptual and processual structure of physics and on development of different kinds of applications for all levels of physics instruction. This includes a.o. planning of didactically relevant courses for both primary and secondary school teacher education, development of the "teachers' laboratory of perceptional experimentality", development or adaption of demonstrations, writing of two text-book series with extensive Teachers' guides for secondary school physics, and participation in the Idea-Bridge (Ideasilta) project on science for talented basic-school pupils.

The great event of the year was the start of the DFCL project, an extensive complementary-education programme in Didactical Physics for teachers. This project is planned and realized as a part of the research in didactical physics.

The task in itself and, morever, the surprisingly favourable response by the physics teachers shown by over 200 applications in such a short notice is a remarkable recognition of the work of the group. The experiences from the project will yield valuable information for further development of complementary education.

DFCL is a consistent whole (30 ECTS credits) of four tightly connected courses, Foundations of Didactical Physics, Conceptual and Processual Structures of School Physics, Perceptional Experimentality (Laboratory-course, planning of conceptually motivated experimental wholes for school physics) and History of Physics based on 16 years' systematic search and development of new relevant methods and contents for physics teacher education.

The arrangements include three ten-days common intense-periods in summer time, three week-end meetings for about 40 participants at a time. The main part of the programme is, however, carried in groups of two or three in the school sites of the participants, distance-guided through both electronic and traditional communication methods. Common discussions are run within an e-mail list and in regular IRC (International Relay Chat) sessions. More detailed information can be found here . The project is bound to be fulfilled by the end of 1997.

This is the first complementary-education programme in didactical physics ever realized in Finland and also unique in its extension with over 150 participants from all over Finland. There are five lecturers, two of whom are full-time. In addition to this there are seven assistants guiding exercise groups and a half-time secretary.

During several decades the Department has arranged a week's supplementary education fulfilling the requirements of the employment criteria for teachers at lower and upper secondary schools. This is noteworthy even nationwide. During the last few years a large number of teachers from the present colleges of advanced education have participated in these courses. Mainly teachers from the Physics Department have been the educators. The popularity of the course shows that such education is needed and the procedure will be continued with a yearly changing topic. In 1996 Particle physics was the theme of the course and it was attended by 63 teachers from lower and upper secondary schools, institutes of technology and polytechnics. The programme of this course is given in this supplement on pages 71-72.

The work of the group is closely connected with the Graduate School for Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry Education with prof. K. Kurki-Suonio as the president. In its first full year of existence two more university departments joined the school having now 21 member institutes from 7 universities and more than 100 graduate students.