What is sour retrospect

PhyDid A - physics and didactics in schools and universities

short version

Empirical studies show a decrease in the level of interest in physics lessons among schoolchildren, and especially among female students, in the course of lower secondary level. Promoting interest in physics during and after school is therefore an important goal of the class. Such funding can only take place, however, if it is known which predictors are decisive for a decrease in interest. Therefore, from a didactic point of view, it makes sense, in addition to the interest during school days, also to collect retrospective and the current interest of young adults in physics. From an educational policy perspective, essential findings on the development of interests should also be integrated into teacher training. Based on leading theories, quantitative and qualitative research methods are used to examine retrospective interest in physics teaching, possible predictors and current interest in physics of students from all faculties of the University of Innsbruck. A special focus is on the investigation of different subject interest components, the comparison with other school subjects and age and gender-specific differences. In the opinion of the students, the greatest influence on the interest in physics lessons is the relevance of the content, the teaching and motivational skills of the teacher, the experience of competence and their subject-specific self-conception of skills. The current interest of the female students in physical subjects is significantly less than that of the students.


Empirical studies have demonstrated an increasing lack of interest in physics lessons among pupils aged 10 to 15. It is therefore vital to encourage the pupils' interest in physics both at school and beyond - which is, however, only possible if the predictors determining the declining interest are known. To do so and for the purposes of a subject-specific, didactic approach, it seems useful to analyze the pupils' interest at school and in retrospect including current interest among young adults. As for education policy, any major findings should be integrated into teacher training. This paper analyzes retrospective interest in physics lessons, potential predictors and the current interest in physics among students of all faculties of the University of Innsbruck through quantitative and qualitative research methods based on leading theories on the matter. A particular focus is placed on research into what determines a pupil's interest in a subject, age- and gender-related differences and a comparison with other subjects. The biggest impact was attributed to content relevance, the teacher's ability to instruct and motivate, experiencing competence and their academic self-concept in the subject. Female students have shown lower levels of current interest in topics related to physics than male students.