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Cross Age Peer Tutoring in Physics

By learning with junior peers, students investigate their perceptions of physics concepts and adapt their own cognitive structures

Students’ conceptions of electricity and optics, gained from everyday experience and previous courses, often do not fit recognized concepts in Physics; this has already been demonstrated in empirical studies. The present research project studies the teaching method „Cross Age Peer Tutoring“(CAPT), specifically its capacity to improve students’ conceptions of Physics. Here, senior high school and secondary school students, assisted by university scientists, develop learning materials, teach junior students and research their conceptions of Physics. By this process, the senior students also realize and adapt their own conceptions.

The project includes also university students, i.e. future physics teachers: (1) also they study the impact of CAPT on comprehension and knowledge of high school students and (2) participate in joint classes organized by both teacher training institutions. Thereby they get to know the tutoring process from several perspectives and develop research questions for their own seminar papers and master theses.

Besides improving students’ conceptions it is also expected that teachers develop their Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK). By developing and disseminating suitable teaching designs and concepts also additional teachers will be sensitized to take into account existing students’ perceptions and to try new teaching methods. An on-going evaluation of the project will identify topics and strategies for long-term cooperation between different research organizations and schools.


Österreichisches Kompetenzzentrum für Didaktik der Physik
Universität Wien

Porzellangasse 4/2/2
1090 Wien
T: +43-1-4277-60330
F: +43-1-4277-860330
Universität Wien | Universitätsring 1 | 1010 Wien | T +43-1-4277-0