Last night I introduced 10 college students and a few others to the
great sport of curling. One student said, “I didn’t really think I
would like it this much.” They left happy, and I got to go out for a
pitcher of Guinness with my good friend Carl.
Quaffing a fine 3.2 Utah beverage was just the ticket, as in the
process of instruction on ice while running backwards (yes, dumb
combination) my feet went right out from under me and I landed solidly
on some vague but very solid part of my left rib/shoulder. I got up
immediately, smiled, but regretful that I was so quick to move because
I couldn’t breathe. Or talk. Or, really stand upright. Eventually I
recovered myself enough to breathe.
So, while I don’t think anymore that I cracked my ribs, it still
Also hurting, somewhat less, was a response to my pre-proposal for a
book chapter for a physics teacher preparation guide. The pain was
not so much about my proposal, but the lack of connection between what
I was proposing and what the book editors are looking for. Granted,
my three paragraphs were vague and perhaps a little offensive to those
who are in PER [physics education research] as they/we? describe,
since I basically said that the field needs to look beyond its own
walls and consider other modes and models of learning. And I tried to
say too much in too little space. My fault. But there were
interesting pieces in the reply that didn’t give me much hope for how
innovative the book is going to be. From an editor:
“The papers in this book are supposed to focus quite specifically on
preparation of physics teachers, particularly from the standpoint of
what physics departments contribute to that process. That is distinct,
for instance, to what is contributed to that process by schools of
education. In the former, the focus is explicitly on the learning and
teaching of physics concepts, principles, processes, skills, and
philosophy. In the latter, a focus on broader issues (such as Nature
of Science and other “general-science” themes) is appropriate and
It’s too bad that nature of science and general themes are expected to
be outside of a physics department. This is likely the very thing
that we should be trying to “fix”, but this text will just perpetuate
an outdated and narrow view of physics education. Oh, my pre-proposal
was also viewed as potentially being too much of an editorial. I
wonder where he got the idea that I had opinions on these issues?
So, I have to decide if I’ll actually re-articulate what I’m trying to
do, or try (that much harder) to write this up and send it elsewhere,
making it a part of the literature that this book is supposed to be
referent to. I’m not sure (yet) where my effort will do any good.
Today, my nephew Peter (16 mo. old) is staying with me while Karyn and
Jennifer (Peter’s mom) go to first aid training for Girl Scouts for
the entire day. (That’s what they tell me at least.) So, I don’t
expect to get much else done except maybe during a nap (Peter’s).
We’ll be hiking back and forth to pick up the girls from school (it
was 3.5 deg F this morning when I got up!) and later taking Anna to
dance and violin . . .