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Re: [Phys-l] Bemoaning textbooks and education: old quotes?

Santayana's aphorism seems never so apt.

Perfect, Peter. Just what I was looking for -- and more!

Best wishes,
Curtis O.

Down with categorical imperative!

From: Peter Schoch <>
To: Forum for Physics Educators <>
Sent: Sun, January 10, 2010 2:35:47 PM
Subject: Re: [Phys-l] Bemoaning textbooks and education: old quotes?

Well, this also points to another gripe of mine -- that many PER
papers and personnel do not do an adequate literature search. Just as
many quotes seem new from 100 years ago, so are many of the ideas
(just put new terminology to it)... With the advent of online
databases, so there is no more sifting through musty tomes in the
library basement, there is no excuse for shoddy lit. searches!
Regrettably, the greatest obstacle to curricular reform does not seem
to be a lack of desire, but a lack of continuity and follow through.
As an example, in 1994
"…Samuel Ward reminded his colleagues that the most common
characteristic of curricular reform efforts is amnesia. As proof, he
hauled out three reports – spaced 30 years apart and spanning much of
the century – all recommending such changes as boosting students’
reasoning rather than memorization skills, harmonizing courses with
everyday problems, and emphasizing future problems to be solved. Much
to its chagrin, the audience was unable to date any of the
reports."(Service 1994)

Thus, curricular reform for science classes, in general, has suffered
from the old adage of ‘those who fail to learn from the mistakes of
the past are doomed to repeat them.’

Anyway, try a few of these papers I have used:

Service RF. 1994. Assault on the Lesson Plan. Science, New Series.
266: 856-858.

Franklin WS. 1921. What is the Matter with Physics Teaching?
Science, New Series. 54: 475-479..

Freeman FN. 1931. Scientific and Philosophical Methods in
Education. Science, New Series. 73: 54-59.

Guthe KE. 1910. Some Reforms Needed in the Teaching of Physics.
Science, New Series. 31: 1-7.

Mann CR. 1910. Physics and Education. Science, New Series. 32: 1-5.

Rutherford FJ. 1997. Sputnik and Science Education. Reflecting on
Sputnik: Linking the Past, Present, and Future of Educational Reform
[Internet]. Accessed 2005
Nov. 16.

Sagan C. 1990. ’Croesus and Cassandra: Policy response to global
warming,’ Carl Sagan's acceptance speech for the 1990 Oersted Medal
presented by the American Association of Physics Teachers, 23 January
1990. The American Journal of Physics. 58: 721 – 730.

Thompson JJ. 1931. The Growth in Opportunities for Education and
Research in Physics during the Past Fifty Years. Science, New
Series. 74: 317-324.

Crew H. 1904. Recent Advances in the Teaching of Physics. Science,
New Series. 19: 481-488.

Gray A. 1919. Scientific Education and the Teaching of Physics.
Science, New Series. 50: 377-383.

Hauser EA. 1951. The Importance of Science in American Education.
Science, New Series. 113: 643-646.

Magruder WT. 1913. The Good Engineering Teacher, His Personality
and Training. Science, New Series. 38: 137-143.

[Anonymous] 1958. National Defense Education Act (1958) United
States Statutes at Large, Public Law 85-864 [Internet].
. p. 1580-1605. Accessed 2005 Nov. 18.

Taylor LW. 1940. Science in General Education at the College Level.
Science, New Series. 91: 560-565.

Trytten MH. 1941. Colleges and the Changing High Schools. Science,
New Series. 94: 387-389.

Those should give you a fairly good cross-section for quotes. One of
the ones I like best is: “The recent appointment by the National
Research Council and by the American Physical Society of committees on
the teaching of physics shows that our physicists who are primarily
interested in research are beginning to see that something is the
matter with the college teaching of physics.” (Franklin 1921) -- and
it's only 89 years later...



On Jan 10, 2010, at 1:36 PM, curtis osterhoudt wrote:

Dear Educators,

I sometimes run across "older" articles or quotes (where "older"
means from the 1920s and before) which sound so modern in their
bemoaning the state of education (in particular in science) that
you'd swear they were written today. Sometimes these appear in
issues of The Physics Teacher, and I've seen quotes (e.g. by
Plutarch) which seem to succinctly sum up educators' thoughts from
the last 30 years. Textbook reviews from the 1890s often sound as
though they're from the 1990s.

However, I'm having problems finding specific examples of these
articles/essays/quotes, especially for physics. Does anyone have
examples they can point me to, or send to me?

Curtis O.

Down with categorical imperative!

Forum for Physics Educators

Forum for Physics Educators