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Making the Most of Your First Day of Class
3.For more about the importance of shifting pedagogical expectations, see Jon D. H. Gaffney, Amy L. Housley Gaffney and Robert J. Beichner,“Do they see it coming? Using expectancy violation to gauge the success of pedagogical reforms,” Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 6, 010102 (Feb. 2010).
7. Jon D. H. Gaffney, Evan Richards, Mary Bridget Kustusch, Lin Ding, and Robert J. Beichner,“Scaling up education reform,” J. Coll. Sci. Teach. 37, 48–53 (May 2008).
8. E. Mazur, Peer Instruction: A User's Manual (Addison-Wesley, Boston, MA, 1996).
9. David R. Sokoloff and Ronald K. Thornton,“Using Interactive Lecture Demonstrations to create an active learning environment,” Phys. Teach. 35, 340–347 (Sept. 1997).
10. Lillian C. McDermott, Physics by Inquiry (Wiley, Hoboken, NJ, 1996).
11. Erving Goffman, On Face-Work, Interaction Ritual: Essays on Face-to-Face behavior (Pantheon, New York, 1967), pp. 5–46.
13. Jeff Kerssen-Griep, Jon A. Hess, and April R. Trees,“Sustaining the desire to learn: Dimensions of perceived instructional face-work related to student involvement and motivation to learn,” Western J. Comm. 67, 357–381 (Fall 2003).
14. Penelope Brown and Stephen C. Levinson, Politeness: Some Universals in Language Usage (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 1978).
15. Paul L. Witt and Jeff Kerssen-Griep,“Instructional feedback I: The interaction of facework and immediacy on students' perceptions of instructor credibility,” Comm. Educ. 60, 75–94 (Jan. 2011).
16.See, for example, Katherine S. Thweatt and James C. McCroskey,“The impact of teacher immediacy and misbehaviors on teacher credibility,” Comm. Educ. 47, 348–358 (Oct. 1998).
17.See, for example, Paul Schrodt and Paul D. Turman,“The impact of instructional technology use, course design, and sex differences on students' initial perceptions of instructor credibility,” Comm. Quarterly 53, 177–196 (April 2005).
20. David P. Maloney and Mark F. Masters,“Learning the game of formulating hypotheses and theories,” Phys. Teach. 48, 22–24 (Jan. 2010).
21. Jon D. H. Gaffney,“Education majors' expectations and reported experiences with inquiry-based physics: Implications for student affect,” Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 9, 010112 (April 2013).
22.Many useful examples can be found in the recurring column “Fermi Questions” in The Physics Teacher. Edited by Larry Weinstein.
23.We learned this activity from Robert Beichner, who has used it on the first day of SCALE-UP courses.
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Instructors of physics courses face the demanding challenge of creating a safe, nurturing community in their classroom while maintaining sufficient rigor. First-day activities are especially important, because they need to both motivate their students and prepare them for the course. Experienced instructors happily share their successful first-day activities,1,2 but what works for one instructor or class might not be as successful for another. We postulate that to be successful, an activity will set expectations, attend to the face needs of the students, and build the instructor's credibility. By modeling the course activities and fostering a supportive learning community, well-suited activities can both orient and motivate students.
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