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In higher education, instructors’ choices of both curricular material and pedagogy are determined by their beliefs about learning and teaching, the values of their profession, and perceived external constraints. Dissemination of research-based educational reforms is based on assumptions about that mental structure. This study reports the initial phase of an investigation of the beliefs and values of physics professors as they relate to the teaching and learning of problem solving in introductory physics. Based on an analysis of a series of structured interviews with six college physics faculty, a model of a common structure of such beliefs for all physics faculty teaching introductory physics was constructed. This preliminary model, when tested and modified by future research, can be used by curriculum developers to design materials, pedagogy, and professional development that gain acceptance among instructors.
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