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How can one increase the awareness of teachers to the existence and importance of knowledge gained through physics education research (PER) and provide them with capabilities to use it? How can one enrich teachers’ physics knowledge and the related pedagogical content knowledge of topics singled out by PER? In this paper we describe a professional development model that attempts to respond to these needs. We report on a study of the model’s implementation in a program for 22 high-school experienced physics teachers. In this program teachers (in teams of 5-6) developed during a year and a half (about 330 h ), several lessons (minimodules) dealing with a topic identified as problematic by PER. The teachers employed a systematic research-based approach and used PER findings. The program consisted of three stages, each culminating with a miniconference: 1. Defining teaching and/or learning goals based on content analysis and diagnosis of students’ prior knowledge. 2. Designing the lessons using PER-based instructional strategies. 3. Performing a small-scale research study that accompanies the development process and publishing the results. We describe a case study of one of the groups and bring evidence that demonstrates how the workshop advanced: (a) Teachers’ awareness of deficiencies in their own knowledge of physics and pedagogy, and their perceptions about their students’ knowledge; (b) teachers’ knowledge of physics and physics pedagogy; (c) a systematic research-based approach to the design of lessons; (d) the formation of a community of practice; and (e) acquaintance with central findings of PER. There was a clear effect on teachers’ practice in the context of the study as indicated by the materials brought to the workshop. The teachers also reported that they continued to use the insights gained, mainly in the topics that were investigated by themselves and by their peers.
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