“When I started teaching, I never asked myself, ‘how am I going to teach?’ Which is strange, because that should be the first question you ask yourself when you do something new.” — Eric Mazur, Area Dean for Applied Physics at Harvard University
Premeds are not very kind to physicists. Eric Mazur knew that, but took the challenge to teach them when he started teaching Physics at Harvard. He developed an engaging lecture style, complete with death-defying demonstrations, and before long was one of the university’s top-rated teachers.
“I started to believe I was the world’s best physics teacher. It was an illusion that lasted many years.”
Then he came across a study that attempted to distinguish between memorization and understanding. It employed a simple test, the same real-world physics problems were asked before a physics course and after. If learning had happened, it was expected that there would be more correct answers afterwards than before.
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