Sparked by the discussion in the comments in the question How to teach modeling physical systems, especially if it is off-topic, I started looking for pedagogical questions about physics. I didn't find much and there is no site comparable to Mathematics Educators Stackexchange, where pedagogical concepts and methods are the main focus. What I did find was the meta post What kind of
[education] questions should we allow?, which dealt with this topic partially.
The way I understand it, questions about pedagogy in physics are currently not allowed, because they tend to be too broad or opinion based. I think, that if such a question is purely about opinion, than it does not fit the format well, so it shouldn't be allowed. But there definitely are objective answers, because pedagogy is an active field of research and as one can see on Mathematics Educators, there are some general principles one can follow to improve teaching.
The reasons why I think this is important are:
- Physics education is a topic often encountered by teaching assistants and professors on a daily basis, but (at least in my experience) there is barely any pedagogical education beforehand. So these questions would serve as a starting point for improving teaching skills.
- There are some challenges specific to teaching physical concepts in contrast to general pedagogic techniques. My original question is about such a problem, why it does not really fit on other sites in my opinion.
- Even if one has a general pedagogic background there might be students for who the general techniques fail. In this case it would be nice to have additional options to try, many people learn differently.
- Science communication is an increasingly important topic and pedagogy can help with it. By learning about effective explanatory concepts, it is easier to find an explanation, that the general public can digest, but is still correct.
As a solution I see three options:
- Keep the current policy and close pedagogy questions as off-topic. I do not prefer this because of the reasons above. In this case, future questions can be linked to this post.
- Create a separate Stackexchange community like Mathematics educators, that primarily focuses on these topics. This would fracture the community a bit and prevent the general users to take a look at these, but keep Physics SE clean.
- Create the "pedagogy" tag on the main site under which these questions can be discussed. This would be my preferred option, as people who don't want to see these questions can block the tag, but it is still available to general users without subscribing to an additional site.
Of course there may be other options, but these are the obvious ones to me. So my question is: what stance should we take on questions about pedagogy, specifically for concepts in physics?