Explaining physics in a way that it is both scientifically correct and comprehensible is a highly demanding practice. But are explanations an effective way to teach physics? Under which circumstances should a physics teacher explain – and is there such a thing as a guideline for effective instructional explanations? Of course, explaining is more than just presenting content knowledge in clear language – but what more? In our talk, we want to discuss empirical studies on instructional explanations from science education and psychology to address these questions. Among other things, we will refer to results from a large study aiming to research whether teacher education contributes to the development of explaining skills. Besides, we will give insights into a project that seeks to measure explaining skills with an interactive online test instrument.
CERN Physics Education Research Team