An American in Prague: A Physics Teaching Fulbright

I’m on sabbatical from Coastal Carolina University this semester while I complete a Fulbright Scholar Award in Prague, Czech Republic. My host is the Department of Physics Education at the Charles University, where I will be teaching a graduate seminar on scientific reasoning and process skills to in-service and pre-service physics teachers in the Czech Republic.

This is an exciting opportunity, and I hope to find the time to report here on all of the interesting things that I see. I am already learning the many differences and similarities in physics teacher preparation between the USA and European countries. Later this semester, I will be presenting a plenary talk on STEM education in the USA for a workshop on Study Abroad that will highlight some of these differences.

It looks like I have a nice European speaking tour coming up, as well. Expect reports soon on my visits to Zurich, Munich, Brno, Dresden, Berlin, Malta, and who knows where else. I’ll be presenting my “stump” speech titled “Creating Scientists: Teaching and Assessing Science Thinking and Practice,” the various versions of which will be posted in the pubs section of the website.

There should also be a ton of papers coming out from our research group this semester. We have several under review right now, and I’ll write a little about each as they get accepted and ready for publication.

Later, I have a little story about my visit to a Czech lower secondary school. I’ll talk about that visit and the structure of Czech primary and secondary education and how it contrasts with the US system. Plus, there are some surprising differences between the way we train physics teachers in the US and the way they do it here. My high school physics-teaching colleagues might be surprised.

So … this is the official start of the blog for the Coastal Physics Education Research Group. More to come.

What do you think?