Didactics research

The Theyßen and Härtig research groups, both working in the Didactics of Physics, benefited in 2017 and 2018 from the extended senior professorship of Prof. Hans E. Fischer. The following externally funded projects were in progress and completed during the two years of the report: Research Unit: “Studying and academic success in the initial phase of scientific and technical degree courses” (DFG up to 2018; Fischer & Theyßen); “Understanding of Scientific Texts as Interaction between Person and Text Characteristics” (DFG up to 2018; Härtig); ProViel – Professionalisation for Diversity (BMBF, Theyßen); SuSe I junior research group on transitions from general studies to lower secondary level (MIWF NRW, Theyßen), “Ganz In” (up to 2018; Stiftung Mercator; Härtig & Fischer); and ProfileP (BMBF up to 2018; Fischer).

The Didactics of Physics research groups are committed in these projects to conducting basic and developmental research relating to competency acquisition in physics. “Experimental competence” is an interest shared by the Theyßen and Härtig research groups, where studies are currently being undertaken on individual support with developing experimental competence in general studies teaching and on differentiated opportunities for experimentation at lower secondary level. The Härtig group is also working on the influence of language on physics learning, where its members are devising and evaluating specific learning opportunities and simultaneously researching text comprehension problems in Physics. In the Theyßen group the researchers are exploring the development of diagnostic skills among teacher training students, especially in relation to the effect of combining theory and practice in the teaching and learning lab.

Looking ahead to the coming years, the ProViel project, in which Prof. Theyßen is involved, has been extended, and Prof. Härtig has succeeded with colleagues from the University Alliance Ruhr in securing funding from the RAG Foundation for a project on language-sensitive teaching. Proposals to the DFG and an internal junior research group at the University are currently under review.