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Re: [Phys-l] Physics job opening in Texas for 2008-09

I'm inclined to agree with your assessment, though I think that people
may not completely appreciate the implications of that assessment. One
piece is certainly philosophical: Is the course designed and intended to
produce a handful of expert practitioners, or to produce widespread
understanding among as many participants as possible? There is a
feeling among proponents of PER (I believe) that "traditional"
instruction leads to the success of students who would probably have
been successful REGARDLESS of the instructors' efforts - the naturals,
so to speak. In this sense, what you write is exactly right.

What PER attempts to do is to first of all convey a reasonable
understanding to a far greater segment of a class than "traditionally"
occurs. And, secondly, to increase the pool of students who possess the
requisites to potentially go on to "expert" status. Along the way, the
PROCESS of "doing physics/science", for example, is emphasized.
Observe, collect data, analyze data, use data to develop equations where
possible, and draw logical, and constrained conclusions (avoid
over-reaching statements). Then peer review, questioning, follow-up
explorations to answer questions, repeat process. This, too, agrees
with your assessment, in that it models a process, and a way of
thinking, that may come naturally to some, but certainly not to most

On Sun, 2008-07-20 at 12:37 -0700, Bernard Cleyet wrote:
Something that's been percolating finally has come thru.

OTOH, I think this has already been mentioned and I forgot.

The purpose of PER is not to create productive physicists. I suspect
the vast majority of them have and will become by any method of
"teaching". The usefulness of PER is to replace Aristotelian
thought w/ more correct thought and thinking methods in those who
thru fortune have not been so blessed already.

bc blessed.

On 2008, May 12, , at 06:58, Jack Uretsky wrote:

Most of the post-docs who are accepted at Argonne (for three year
camef foreign schools and have established reputations. As far as
I can
tell, they are products of traditional education.

Where is the evidence of PER success in creating productive
physicists and

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