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ERIC Number: EJ951125
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Dec
Pages: 4
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 6
ISSN: ISSN-0031-921X
AAPT/PTRA--A Part of the Solution
Amann, George; Mader, Jan; Matsler, Karen Jo; Nelson, Jim
Physics Teacher, v49 n9 p560-563 Dec 2011
A train barrels directly toward a stone wall. It looks like a disaster is inevitable. Suddenly, a group of railroad workers run to a switch that changes the direction of the train. They reroute the train onto a new track by throwing the switch just in time. Perhaps you had not known what to do, nor were you strong enough to do it yourself, but you now see that it was not a forgone conclusion that the train had to run into the wall. In this scenario, the train represents precollege physics education in the United States. The wall represents the classroom situation that many teachers find when they are assigned to teach physics. These teachers often find themselves teaching a subject for which they were not adequately prepared. It is not their fault, but rather the result of the necessity of having a teacher assigned to the class. The United States needs students to be prepared for a future in which science and technology will be more and more a part of everyone's life, and there are not enough well-prepared physics teachers graduating from colleges and universities. So the train is headed toward the wall. "Who are the strong railroad workers?" you ask. These are the 200 Physics Teaching Resource Agents (PTRAs), who for the past 25 years have been selected and trained by AAPT to do workshops for practicing physics and physical science teachers. Thus AAPT celebrated the PTRA silver anniversary during the 2010 AAPT meeting in Portland. And APS recognized this achievement with their 2011 Excellence in Physics Education Award.
American Association of Physics Teachers. One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740. Tel: 301-209-3300; Fax: 301-209-0845; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education; Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States