PER group

Our group includes members from both the Physics Department and the School of Education.

David T Brookes

David T Brookes
David T Brookes
dbrookes@illinois.edu

Postdoctoral Research Associate

I am interested in the role of language in learning physics. I am trying to answer questions such as: How does language work to represent ideas and processes in physics? Correspondingly, how do physics students construct meaning from linguistic representations that they read and hear? I employ and adapt ideas and methods from cognitive linguistics and systemic functional grammar to try and answer these questions.

There are two broad questions that interest me.

  • As an extension of thinking of language as a representation, I am curious about categorization, how humans learn about the world and how the strategies they employ are brought to bear in learning and doing physics. I want to explore this on a sociological level, a representational level and (hopefully) on a neurological level.
  • The question that really keeps me awake at night is: Why do we want students to learn physics at all, especially if they're not physics majors? In response to this question I want to continue to explore how we (physics educators) can turn a physics class into primarily a process of doing physics, and secondarily an act of learning physics concepts/ideas.

For more information

Selected Publications

Invited Lectures/Talks