EDINBURG - Fifteen McAllen elementary and middle school teachers are hoping to pick up a lesson or two about physics as they participate in the Physics for Teachers Program this summer at The University of Texas-Pan American.
"The need for this program is out there," said Dr. Muhammad Bhatti, director of the Physics for Teachers Program at UTPA. "Studies have shown that students entering the college level have been poorly trained in science only because their teachers did not have a working knowledge of physics."
The UTPA program is specifically designed to sharpen the science skills of elementary and middle school physical science teachers by reviewing the basic principles of physics.
"Some of these teachers have never even taken a physics class in college, yet they are expected to go out and teach the subject," Bhatti said. "This program will train these teachers in the newest teaching methods as well as bring them up to date on the latest physics technology."
According to Bhatti, there are multiple benefits to the program.
"These teachers will be exposed to the latest physics technology like motion sensors and graphing calculators," Bhatti said. "Once these teachers are trained, they will in turn be able to teach their students in a better, more efficient way."
Participants will spend approximately two weeks in June and two days a month throughout the rest of the year in the classroom.
Harold Williams, a sixth grade teacher from Brown Middle School, said he is looking forward to the program.
"I'm hoping to pick up some new teaching techniques about physics," he said. "There is a lot of material out there that just isn't in the textbooks, and I'm hoping to find it here."
Linda Munoz, a seventh grade teacher from De Leon Middle School, agreed.
"I'm hoping to pick up some good teaching methods on physics myself," Munoz said. "I need to be better prepared for my classroom. The more knowledge a teacher has, the better off a student will be."
The program is funded through an $83,000 Eisenhower Grant awarded to UTPA. For more information on the Physics for Teachers Program, contact Bhatti at 956/381-2393.