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Parami Talk Series: Taking a Scientific Approach to Teaching Science by Professor Carl Wieman

We are truly grateful to successfully hold our second Parami Talk Series with Nobel Laureate Dr. Carl Wieman, Professor of Physics and Education at Stanford University, on the topic of ‘Taking a Scientific Approach to Teaching Science.’ 

Prof. Wieman's presentation and Zoom webinar attendees 

The virtual event attracted more than 300 participants from different backgrounds such as faculty and staff from public universities in Myanmar and individuals around the globe joining the Zoom webinar and Facebook live session on January 17th, 2021. 

Professor Wieman’s research on how people learn is now revealing much more effective ways to teach and evaluate learning than what is in use in the traditional science class. Students and instructors find such teaching more rewarding, and it also shows students how to learn most effectively. The research shows that learners’ brains are constantly developing and students’ brains come in very different ways. “We have these student’s brains coming to our classroom in very different ways. And then we emerge them into knowledge and it sinks in different amounts depending on the brains,” shared Dr. Wieman.

The research-based principles of learning, the new teaching approach, however, shows that people's brains are changeable because the teaching method allows students to practice thinking like physicists, science, and engineering. The thinking process or the brain exercise consists of choosing, applying, testing conceptual models, and critiquing reasoning. Therefore, students can gain a good improvement in their learning capabilities through this learning process.

Professor Wieman highlighted that designing relevant tasks with deliverables for small group interactions or social learning can support the learning process and help the brain function differently. When people teach or explain to other people, it creates a unique cognitive process. 

In addition, the method of teaching through solving real problems and getting feedback can be suitable to apply in the classroom with students having different subject preferences. Also, it will help teachers to have a better understanding of what students’ level of learning is at. Knowing students’ preferences is essential because teachers will know what kinds of materials to teach to the students. 

About Professor Carl Wieman 

Carl Wieman is a Professor of Physics and Education at Stanford University. Professor Wieman has done extensive experimental research in both atomic physics (Nobel Prize in Physics, 2001) and university science and engineering education (Carnegie Foundation Professor of the Year, 2004). He founded PhET, which provides online interactive simulations that are used 100 million times/year to learn science and recently published a book “Improving How Universities Teach Science.” He is currently studying expertise and problem solving in science and engineering disciplines, and how this can be better measured and taught. Most recently, he is the recipient of the 2020 Yidan International Prize for Education Research.

Click here to listen to Professor Wieman’s Talk on Taking a Scientific Approach to Teaching Science.

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