Moll, Rachel

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    Fostering K-12 student-teacher and collegial relationships during the COVID-19 pandemic: Implications for teacher education
    (Canadian Association for Teacher Education, 2022) Riedel, Marian; Moll, Rachel; Taplay, Alison; Fisher, Paige
    This community-based participatory action research project was prompted by the rapid shift to emergency remote learning in March-June 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. A team of researchers at a regional teaching-focused university in BC initiated the research based on their shared belief that new understandings about the relational character of teaching and learning would come from an examination of the lived experience of educators during this difficult time. The study involved six community partners who collaborated with the researchers to co-develop the research questions and co-design data collection tools. The study was intended to be mutually beneficial for the teacher education program and the school districts/schools involved. It engaged 413 participants (teachers, administrators, educational assistants [EAs], and non-enrolling teachers) who answered survey questions about relationships, communication, equity and inclusion, shifts in practice, and leadership. This chapter is focused on data specific to the role of relationships in education and how relationships were impacted during the pandemic. Three themes emerged from the data analysis relevant to online learning environments, yet applicable across all modalities: relationality as a core value of BC K-12 educators, affordances and challenges for relationships, and affordances and challenges for equity. Recommendations specific to teacher education aim to advise teacher education programs to expand their focus on relationship building; to re-envision the work of teaching as a collaborative and not a solitary act; and to advocate for the inclusion of online teaching and learning pedagogies into teacher education programs.
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    Between the familiar and strange: Understanding good teaching in transnational education settings
    (FIRE: Forum for International Research in Education, 2019) Riedel, Marian; Moll, Rachel
    Little has been written about how or whether pre-service teachers construct understandings of good teaching during an international field placement; thus, a need arises to examine these contexts as sites to question, “How do we know what we know?” (Britzman, 2003, p. 58). Based on a qualitative study of six pre-service teachers participating in an international field placement within transnational education school settings – meaning the academic program and provider, as opposed to the student body, have moved from a home country [i.e., Canada] to a host country [in Asia] (Knight, 2016) – this article identified that comparative settings problematized understandings of good teaching. Central to these findings is situating understanding between what is familiar and that which interrupts understanding (what is strange), and dialogue as the medium by which understanding is made public. To move beyond a theory-into-practice paradigm in initial teacher education, results highlight a need to foster comparative experiences to engender change and challenge status quo narratives of what it means to teach and learn in teacher education.
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    Teaching introductory physics with an environmental focus
    (AIP Publishing, 2010) Martinuk, Mathew "Sandy"; Moll, Rachel; Kotlicki, Andrzej
    Throughout North America the curriculum of introductory physics courses is nearly standardized. In 1992, Tobias wrote that four texts dominate 90% of the introductory physics market and current physics education research is focusing on how to sustain educational reforms. The instructional team at the University of British Columbia (UBC) recently implemented some key curriculum and pedagogical changes in Physics 100, their algebra‐based introductory course for non‐physics majors. These changes were aimed at improving their students' attitudes toward physics and their ability to apply physics concepts to useful real‐life situations. In order to demonstrate that physics is relevant to real life, a theme of energy and environment was incorporated into the course.
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    Extending the theoretical framing for physics education research: An illustrative application of complexity science
    (American Physical Society, 2014-09-24) Forsman, Jonas; Moll, Rachel; Linder, Cedric
    The viability of using complexity science in physics education research (PER) is exemplified by (1) situating central tenets of student persistence research in complexity science and (2) drawing on the methods that become available from this to illustrate analyzing the structural aspects of students’ networked interactions as an important dynamic in student persistence. By drawing on the most cited characterizations of student persistence, we theorize that university environments are made up of social and academic systems, which PER work on student persistence has largely ignored. These systems are interpreted as being constituted from rules of interaction that affect the structural aspects of students’ social and academic network interactions from a complexity science perspective. To illustrate this empirically, an exploration of the nature of the social and academic networks of university-level physics students is undertaken. This is done by combining complexity science with social network analysis to characterize structural similarities and differences of the social and academic networks of students in two courses. It is posited that framing a social network analysis within a complexity science perspective offers a new and powerful applicability across a broad range of PER topics.
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    Affective learning in playful learning environments: Physics outreach challenges
    (Board of Regents of the University of Colorado, 2011) Moll, Rachel
    This field report describes the affective learning experiences of students as they participate in two physics outreach challenges: the Physics Olympics and BC's Brightest Minds amusement park physics competition. Students were interviewed before and after the events and observed closely while they participated, with particular attention paid to the emotions they expressed. The researcher used a complexity thinking perspective to interpret how emotions allow for the emergence of perceived student science identities, which were adaptive and dynamic. Key findings include that experiencing strong emotions such as excitement and disappointment can enhance motivation and learning, and characteristics of the contexts and tasks that promote playful learning were identified. The results of this study contribute to improving the teaching and learning of physics and suggest designing learning environments both within and outside classroom contexts that are challenging and provide feedback so that students' emotions are evoked and expressed. Specific recommendations for designing competitive science outreach environments are also offered.