Contemporary views on physics education in high schools promote the need for students to develop their conceptual understanding about physics phenomena. However, teaching in this way requires specialized professional knowledge and for pre-service physics teachers, such knowledge needs to be scaffolded and developed. A strategy to support this knowledge development includes eliciting metacognition, where pre-service teachers have opportunities to explore and reconstruct their own knowledge, views, and attitudes about teaching physics. The conceptual understanding procedure (CUP) was developed in the late 1990s at Monash University, initially to support physics students in their first year at university. In particular, a CUP was used to support these students' understanding of mechanics and highlight their potential alternate conceptions. Researchers found that two thirds of the students involved in this procedure reported that it had positive effects on their understanding and their ideas were clarified. In this paper, we investigate our own use of CUPs as physics teacher educators as a strategy to elicit metacognition with pre-service physics teachers to support their professional knowledge development. Our pre-service physics teachers act as high school physics students to complete the task, and then as physics teachers to explore the pedagogical purposes of the CUP. Ultimately, this process of working in these two roles, while reflecting on their immediate experiences, elicits metacognition in a meaningful way that scaffolds and supports the development of the specialized knowledge required for effective teaching. Thus, we recommend a CUP is a suitable and worthwhile pedagogical strategy to use when supporting pre-service physics teachers' to elicit metacognition and support professional knowledge development to promote teaching for conceptual understanding.
- Conceptual understanding
- Pre-service teachers
- Professional learning and development