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Using mapping techniques to develop PGDE Physics students' understanding of learning and teaching (Concept Mapping for PGDE Students – a Tentative Maybe from Physics?)

Findlay, Morag (2007) Using mapping techniques to develop PGDE Physics students' understanding of learning and teaching (Concept Mapping for PGDE Students – a Tentative Maybe from Physics?). In: ECER 2007, 2007-09-19 - 2007-09-21.

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The paper looks at the use of mind mapping and concept mapping to develop help student teachers of physics to develop their understanding of teaching electrical concepts. What is the impact of an introduction to concept mapping on trainee physics teachers in Scotland? • What are the students’ responses to concept mapping itself? • Did they use concept mapping during their PGDE year? • Did concept mapping impact on the students’ approaches to teaching and learning? • Do the students intend to use concept mapping after the PGDE year? The methods used were part of the ongoing work of trainee science teachers on an Initial Teacher Education course. Student teachers of science were introduced to the use of mind mapping to organise their understanding of a topic two weeks into a thirty six week course. This was followed up with student teachers of physics who were introduced to concept mapping within the context of developing their understanding of electrical concepts. The physics students produced a written group concept map. The next stage was for students to use concept mapping software to produce a concept map on the topic of energy before studying the topic. This individual map was then revisited by the students after completing an energy workshop. The students were deeply engaged by the group concept mapping task. They found making the links between concepts challenging and worthwhile. The group concept maps are somewhat limited and do not display the expected characteristics of expert concept maps. In general, the students preferred to use the concept mapping software rather than mapping by hand. However, the individual concept maps vary considerably in detail. The concept maps produced after the additional input do not seem to show much change. Despite the value placed on the concept maps during the process of developing them, feedback from the students showed that they did not find the concept mapping sessions as useful as sessions which concentrated more on teaching particular topics. It is possible that the student teachers did not see the value of these techniques while on placement.