HOW DO PUPILS STUDY PHYSICS? DO THEY REALLY USE TEXTBOOKS?
1 Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais (BRAZIL)
2 University of Castilla-La Mancha (SPAIN)
3 Copra SL, Barcelona (SPAIN)
4 University of Alicante (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 15th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-9 March, 2021
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:Studying textbooks is relevant due to the money annually invested (about half-billion dollars) in the Brazilian textbook program, known as PNLD (Programa Nacional do Livro Didático). This work analyzes Physics-learning strategies for 75 students in their 1st High School year at a Brazilian school. The analysis was based on data collected in a questionnaire about study habits applied in 2019.
The questionnaire includes 17 items considering reading habits, the use of the Physics textbook, and study strategies. The objective was to uncover how and when students use the Physics textbook, since governmental policies have consolidated its presence at Brazilian schools. Recent research on the subject indicates that professors use Physics textbooks, especially to prepare their classes, and that students commonly make use of them sporadically and superficially.
In general, school training sessions tend to transform Physics textbooks into simple exercise sources, which may generate distortions when teaching and learning this discipline. Alternatively, recent research on what features students value the most in a textbook also shows us that they desire a material with correct concepts, summaries, and diagrams that allow for an easy identification of key concepts, but also with themes and approaches that arouse interest and exemplify the content.
Results we obtained corroborate research on Physics textbooks during the last decade but bring new data such as the importance of the internet in pupils' study habits. The presence and importance of the internet in pupils' study routines may not always be considered as diversification of Physics teaching or learning activities. On the contrary, this position may be defended with two arguments.
The first argument is based on our everyday school life experience considering that most professors are unaware of sites and web content accessed by students. The same can be said about video lessons available online. Admittedly, the use of the Internet, applications, and video classes to learn Physics has been established by themselves, in most cases, as an autonomous student strategy adopted without mediation of any professor. It is also true that, in general, students discover the virtual world more quickly than the way their professors can incorporate it into their training sessions.
The second argument considers that study sequences sought online by students are similar to the study sequences involved in professors' training sessions: presentation, practice, and testing (as explained beforehand). In this sense, video lessons tend to substitute professor’s explanations and the search for new exercises deals with training and testing stages. In order to reverse Physics textbooks underutilization professors must deeply know physics-teaching websites available and they should also be aware of the web impact on pupils’ study habits.
Considering all this, professors may incorporate a new teaching approach, including online resources and explore Physics textbooks as an important teaching and learning tool. We do believe that the use of textbooks should be mediated by professors, for instance to orient students, as well as to use texts and other resources to reverse their underutilization. Besides, the activities of Physics textbooks (texts, exercises, experiments, etc.) as well as applications, hypertexts, and simulations, should be regarded as learning resources.
Keywords: Physics textbook, study habits, learning Physics, learning resources, students, professors.