Peer Instruction in introductory physics: A method to bring about positive changes in students’ attitudes and beliefs

Posted on December 22nd, 2016

Peer Instruction can positively impact students’ attitudes and beliefs, according to a study done at Beijing Normal University. The study looked at first-year undergraduate science students in four introductory physics courses. One class was taught using traditional lecture methods; the other three were taught using Peer Instruction, which “was designed to engage students in active, peer-led discussions in order to help learners solidify conceptual understanding and encourage them to learn from one another much as they will when they become members of a scientific community.” The instructors did a pre- and post-test with students using the Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey “to measure students’ attitudes and beliefs about the nature of physics and learning.” The researchers found that students in the traditional lecture classrooms became “significantly more novice-like in their beliefs about physics and learning physics,” while student attitudes and beliefs improved in the three classes using Peer Instruction.