Research Papers in Physics and Astronomy


Date of this Version

September 1978


Published by American Journal of Physics. American Journal of Physics 46, 959 (1978). ©1978 American Journal of Physics. Permission to use.


The books in this small collection of paperbacks deal with many of the issues confronting physicists who teach undergraduates. These books are the result of several physicist- years of studying various aspects of teaching in undergraduate physics programs in the United Kingdom. Each book includes references to related books and articles.

I think that these books make an essential contribution to the literature about teaching physics at the university level. For too long many of the physics departments that I know have acted as if the only way to evaluate teaching was to give a multiple-choice questionnaire to students at the end of each semester and get some numerical rating for each instructor. The fact that teaching has many physical observable~ h as been systematically ignored by physicists. The HELP books authors attended laboratory classes and they looked and listened. They interviewed students and they looked and listened. Then they used the results obtained from these observations to make suggestions about how teaching science to undergraduates can be improved. I hope these books will help bring the study of college physics teaching out of the dark domain of the unobservable.

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