John Airey

John Airey
Stockholm University | SU · Department of Teaching and Learning

PhD Physics

About

52
Publications
36,648
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
2,321
Citations
Introduction
Dr John Airey is professor of University Science Education at Stockholm University and a Reader in Physics Education Research at Uppsala University. John’s research interests focus on the relationship between disciplinary knowledge and its representation in university physics.
Additional affiliations
May 2017 - present
Stockholm University
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
May 2014 - present
Uppsala University
Position
  • Lecturer
April 2011 - May 2014
Uppsala University
Position
  • Research Assistant

Publications

Publications (52)
Thesis
Full-text available
This thesis presents an investigation of undergraduate student learning with respect to physics lectures attended in English and Swedish. The work studies three connected areas: student learning patterns, bilingual scientific literacy and disciplinary discourse. Twenty-two physics students at two Swedish universities attended lectures in both Engl...
Chapter
In this chapter I discuss the European-inspired notion of content and language integrated learning (CLIL). What makes CLIL different from English-medium instruction (EMI) on the one hand and English for academic purposes (EAP) on the other? A cursory examination of the acronym itself raises a number of questions. The Ls in CLIL—language and learnin...
Article
Full-text available
This article reports the results of an empirical study exploring the discourses of physics teacher educators. We ask how the expressed understandings of a physics teacher education programme in the talk of teacher educators potentially support the identity construction of new teachers. Nine teacher educators from different sections of a physics tea...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper we discuss the role of transduction in the teaching and learning of science. We video-filmed pairs of upper-secondary physics students working with a laboratory task designed to encourage transduction (Bezemer & Kress, 2008). The students were simply instructed to use a hand-held electronic measurement device (IOLab) to find the direc...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper we are interested in the relationship between disciplinary knowledge and its representation. We carry out a social semiotic analysis of a central tool used in astronomy—the Hertzsprung-Russell (H-R) diagram—in order to highlight its disciplinary and pedagogical affordances. The H-R diagram that we know today combines many layers of as...
Article
Full-text available
High school physics teachers have a difficult job to do. On the one hand, they are charged with contributing to the creation of a scientifically literate society, while on the other they play a pivotal role in the recruitment of future physicists. Given the importance of this dual role, one might expect that the training of future physics teachers...
Article
Full-text available
This study explores the culture of physics departments in Sweden in relation to physics teacher education. The commitment of physics departments to teacher education is crucial for the quality of physics teacher education and the way in which physics lecturers talk about teacher education is significant, since it can affect trainees’ physics learni...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we show that introductory physics students may initially conceptualise Cartesian coordinate systems as being fixed in a standard orientation. Giving consideration to the role that experiences of variation play in learning, we also present an example of how this learning challenge can be effectively addressed. Using a fine-grained ana...
Article
Full-text available
A social semiotic lens is used to characterise aspects of representational competence for a discipline such as physics, to provide science teachers with a practical suggestion about how student learning might be organised to develop representational competence. We suggest that representational competence for some areas of science can be characteris...
Article
When qualifying as a secondary school physics teacher in England, the statutory guidance is generic and very little subject-specific detail is offered. There is a lack of a clear, shared understanding of the subject-specific attributes that newly-qualified physics teachers are expected to have. This exploratory study reports the findings of a quest...
Chapter
In this chapter we are interested in how undergraduate physics students in three countries experience the equations they meet in their education. We asked over 350 students in the USA, Australia and Sweden the same simple question: How do you know when you understand a physics equation? Students wrote free-text answers to this question, and these w...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract The idea for this special issue of Designs for Learning emerged during the 8th International Conference on Multimodality (8ICOM), held in Cape Town in December 2016. During that conference, a special stream of papers was organised, all of which addressed the question of science and/or engineering teaching from a multimodal perspective. In...
Presentation
Full-text available
Preliminary findings from the Finnish physics teacher education presented
Chapter
In this chapter we use the concept of disciplinary literacy (Airey, 2011a, 2013) to analyze the goals of university physics lecturers. Disciplinary literacy refers to a particular mix of disciplinary-specific communicative practices developed for three specific sites: the academy, the workplace and society. It has been suggested that the developmen...
Chapter
In this chapter we discuss the application of social semiotics to the teaching and learning of university physics. Social semiotics is a broad construct where all communication in a particular social group is realized through the use of semiotic resources. In the discipline of physics, examples of such semiotic resources are graphs, diagrams, mathe...
Article
Full-text available
Recently, in the wake of the Bologna Declaration and similar international initiatives, there has been a rapid increase in the number of university courses and programmes taught through the medium of English. Surveys have consistently shown the Nordic countries to be at the forefront of this trend towards English-medium instruction (EMI). In this p...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract In this chapter I discuss the European-inspired notion of content and language integrated learning (CLIL). What makes CLIL different from English-medium instruction (EMI) on the one hand and EAP on the other? A cursory examination of the acronym itself raises a number of questions. I start my description by first examining the definition...
Article
Full-text available
In this theoretical article we propose three factors that can enhance the possibilities for learning physics from representations, namely: (1) the identification of disciplinary-relevant aspects for a particular disciplinary task, such as solving a physics problem or explaining a phenomenon, (2) the selection of appropriate representations that sho...
Article
Full-text available
In this article we characterize transient learning challenges as learning challenges that arise out of teaching situations rather than conflicts with prior knowledge. We propose that these learning challenges can be identified by paying careful attention to the representations that students produce. Once a transient learning challenge has been iden...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to propose a social semiotic approach to analysing objects of learning in terms of their critical aspects. Design/methodology/approach – The design for this paper focuses on how the semiotic resources – including language, equations, and diagrams – that are commonly used in physics teaching realise the critic...
Chapter
Full-text available
John Airey 7 From stimulated recall to disciplinary literacy: Summarizing ten years of research into teaching and learning in English Abstract: This chapter summarizes my research work in Swedish higher education in the area of teaching and learning in English. Sweden makes for a particularly interesting case study since there are high levels of...
Article
Full-text available
This theoretical article problematizes the access to disciplinary knowledge that different physics representations have the possibility to provide; that is, their disciplinary affordances. It is argued that historically such access has become increasingly constrained for students as physics representations have been rationalized over time. Thus, th...
Article
Full-text available
Recently, the South African Institute of Physics undertook a major review of university physics education. The report highlighted the necessity for further transformation of the teaching of physics, particularly in relation to the teaching of under-prepared students. In this article we examine how physics lecturers in South Africa reported how they...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract : Education is increasingly being framed by a competence mindset; the value of knowledge lies much more in competence performativity and innovation than in simply knowing. Reaching such competency in areas such as astronomy and physics has long been known to be challenging. The movement from everyday conceptions of the world around us to a...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Representations in undergraduate physics Problem solving is one of the most important parts of undergraduate physics education, yet a huge body of international research has clearly shown that simply being able to solve a set of physics problems correctly is not a good indicator of students having attained appropriate physics understanding. Ground...
Article
An overlooked feature in astronomy education is the need for students to learn to extrapolate three-dimensionality and the challenges that this may involve. Discerning critical features in the night sky that are embedded in dimensionality is a long-term learning process. Several articles have addressed the usefulness of three-dimensional (3D) simul...
Article
Full-text available
Various representations, used for communication and problem solving in science, are an unspoken prerequisite for learning, understanding, and participating in scientific communities. Work has been done highlighting the importance of competence in particular multiple representations in science learning, the specific representational practices for th...
Article
Full-text available
Disciplinary differences in the use of English in higher education: reflections on recent language policy developments Maria Kuteeva • John Airey Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013 Abstract In post-Bologna Europe, there has been a noticeable increase in English- medium instruction. In this article we take the case of Sweden as an ill...
Article
Full-text available
From a disciplinary discourse perspective, all university courses can be said to involve content and language integrated learning (CLIL) even in monolingual settings. Clearly, however, things become much more complex when two or more languages are involved in teaching and learning. The role of this paper is to introduce readers to the linguistic si...
Article
Full-text available
Research has shown that interactive engagement enhances student learning outcomes. A growing body of research suggests that the representations we use in physics are important in such learning environments. In this paper we draw on a number of sources in the literature to explore the role of representations in interactive engagement in physics. In...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Learning astronomy is challenging at all levels due to the highly specialized form of communication used to share knowledge. When taking astronomy courses at different levels at university, learners are exposed to a variety of representations that are intended to help them learn about the structure and complexity of the Universe. However, not much...
Article
Full-text available
El presente trabajo documenta las experiencias de profesores universitarios en Suecia cuando pasan de la enseñanza en su lengua materna a la enseñanza en inglés. Dieciocho profesores pertenecientes a dos universidades suecas participaron en un curso de formación para profesores en el que debían impartir en inglés el contenido de cursos de materias...
Article
Full-text available
This paper analyses the ability of twenty-one physics undergraduates at two Swedish universities to orally describe and explain in both Swedish and English the science concepts met in their lectures. This ability is related back to the language used to teach the concepts (English, Swedish or both languages). Transcripts of student descriptions in b...
Article
In this theoretical article we use an interpretative study with physics undergraduates to exemplify a proposed characterization of student learning in university science in terms of fluency in disciplinary discourse. Drawing on ideas from a number of different sources in the literature, we characterize what we call “disciplinary discourse” as the c...
Article
Full-text available
In Sweden, science undergraduates meet two languages in their education: English and Swedish. The most common division between these languages is to have lectures in Swedish with course texts in English. However, the presence of a single exchange student on an undergraduate course can change the lecture language to English. Unfortunately, there is...
Article
Full-text available
A direct consequence of the Bologna declaration on harmonization of European education has been an increase in the number of courses taught in English at Swedish universities. A worrying aspect of this development is the lack of research into the effects on disciplinary learning that may be related to changing the teaching language to English in th...
Article
Full-text available
Two languages are usually used in the education of engineers in Sweden—the local language and English. There are clearly many benefits of this approach, but a number of interesting questions do arise. One such question relates to scientific literacy. If we accept that the overarching goal for engineering degree programmes is the production of scien...
Article
Full-text available
This paper reports the results from a qualitative study which explores the relationship between the teaching language (English or Swedish) and the related learning experiences of undergraduate physics students at two separate Swedish universities. Students attended lectures in both English and Swedish as part of their regular undergraduate program....
Article
Full-text available
Students' attitudes and beliefs about learning have been shown to affect learning outcomes. This study explores how university physics students think about what it means to understand physics equations. The data comes from semi-structured interviews with students from three Swedish univer- sities. The analysis follows a data-based, inductive approa...
Article
Full-text available
This qualitative study explores the relationship between the lecturing language (English or Swedish) and the related learning experiences of 22 undergraduate physics students at two Swedish universities. Students attended lectures in both English and Swedish as part of their regular undergraduate programme. These lectures were videotaped and studen...
Article
Full-text available
In this article we explore student learning in university science from the perspective of entering a disciplinary discourse. We define disciplinary discourse as the complex of representations, tools and activities of a discipline, and describe how it can be seen as being made up of various modes. For university science, examples of these modes are:...
Article
Full-text available
In Sweden more and more courses on degree programmes are being taught in English. The reasons for using English as the language of instruction are many, but the three most important appear to be: • Internationalisation. • Preparing students for an academic world dominated by English. • Competitive advantages on the job market. The received wisdom i...

Network

Cited By

Projects

Projects (2)
Project
Using a social semiotic theoretical framework of learning, developed in the Division for Physics Education Research at Uiversity, I'll be investigating the teaching and learning relations between mathematics knowledge and constructing appropriate ways of understanding and applying physics knowledge.
Project
This project compares the affordances and constraints for physics teachers’ professional identity building across four countries (Sweden, Finland, Singapore, UK). Research questions: What discourse models are enacted in the educational environments trainee physics teachers meet? What are the potential affordances and constraints of these discourse models for the constitution of physics teacher professional identities? In what ways do perceptions of the status assigned by society to the teaching profession potentially affect this professional identity building? What are the potential consequences of the answers to the above questions for the view of science communicated to pupils in school?