Using conceptual questions to promote motivation and learning in physics lectures


In the last years, science courses in higher education (HE) have been facing some problems, namely the lack of students’ motivation, the number of students’ failures and drop outs, particular in physics courses. The most probable reason, which has been mentioned in current science education research in HE, is that the level of interaction between teachers and learners in formal instructional settings is very low. In this paper, we describe changes that were introduced in lectures towards the promotion of active learning and analyse its effects in the classroom environment. The introduction of conceptual questions and peer instruction seems to motivate students in the class and help them engage in the learning process. These strategies have been used in the first year of an introductory physics course for engineering students in two different Portuguese HE institutions. The data were collected through questionnaires and student interviews.


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