What can Physics Teachers Learn from Soccer Coaches?

Example of a drag-and-drop exercise designed to help students practice physics skills online (From Zhongzhou Chen’s presentation delivered at Learning With MOOCs II conference Oct. 2015)

A Chinese physicist who is doing his post-doctoral research at MIT thinks physics classes would be better taught the same way coaches teach soccer. Just like great soccer coaches break the game down into specific skills such as passing, receiving and shooting, and have kids practice these skills until they master them, Zhongzhou Chen is trying to break down the field of physics into simpler skills that students can master through practice.

According to an article in The Hechinger Report, Chen says he was inspired by the educational theories of Swedish psychologist Anders Ericsson who documented how experts – such as professional classical musicians or chess players – become very good at their skills through training, or “deliberate practice,” instead of through innate talent.

The illustration above reminds me of how my husband likes to demonstrate certain physics concepts using a bicycle tire. If your family homeschools with Saxon Math (as we do), you will appreciate what a guy named John Anderson wrote in the article comments: “It’s good to see the pedagogy of Saxon physics making a comeback.” 🙂

READ MORE: http://hechingerreport.org/can-physics-be-taught-like-soccer


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