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Re: [Phys-l] Premed Requirements Commentary

Hi all-
JC and I finally agree on something: "We have met the enemy and he is us?"
If we claim to teach critical thinking, shouldn't we be exemplifying the skill? Are the postings on this subject, for example, examples of critical thinkiing that we could proudly point out to our students?

On Tue, 19 Sep 2006, Michael Edmiston wrote:

Wow, we physics teachers are really in sad shape.

We want premed students (and others) to learn to think critically, do
research (take and analyze data), and understand physics. Yet many on
this list have been saying (now and earlier) that our courses don't
succeed at any of those things.

Why don't we just quit and go do something else for a living?

A different point with same conclusion... We have discussed the pros
and cons of "physics first." Without intending to rehash that, we
should at least recognize that the basic premise behind physics first is
that physics is the foundation (with perhaps math as the
sub-foundation), then chemistry is built on top of that, cell then plant
then animal biology are on top of chemistry, then human biology/medicine
are at the top. Doctors are supposedly working at the top.

Now even we physicists seem to be saying that math, physics, and
chemistry courses are not actually needed to work at the top. People
wanting to work at the top can just pop in at that level and start
working there. The foundation is not necessary.

Why don't we just quit and go do something else for a living?

Oh, by the way, seeing as how over half of the students in my physics
class are premeds, and the rest are chemistry and biology pre-teachers,
one thing I point out once in a while is that perhaps some of them
should stay in physics or chemistry and work on energy and environmental
concerns. Otherwise, sometime soon, the medical doctors won't have any
patients to treat and the teachers won't have any students to teach.
But that's a whole 'nother issue.

Michael D. Edmiston, Ph.D.
Professor of Physics and Chemistry
Bluffton University
Bluffton, OH 45817

Forum for Physics Educators

"Trust me. I have a lot of experience at this."
General Custer's unremembered message to his men,
just before leading them into the Little Big Horn Valley