Promoting high school students' physics identity through explicit and implicit recognition

Jianlan Wang, Zahra Hazari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


This study is focused on student recognition beliefs as related to a role identity development. More specifically, using the theoretical framework of physics identity and emotional scaffolding, we investigate the impact of two types of recognizing strategies, i.e., explicit (ER) and implicit recognizing (IR), on high school students' sense of recognition and physics identity. ER is teachers directly conveying their acknowledgment of students' qualities or abilities, such as acknowledging good work and expressing faith in student ability, and IR is teachers indirectly acknowledging students' qualities or abilities via assigning them a position or a task that demands those qualities or abilities, such as valuing student opinions and assigning a challenging task. Through six longitudinal surveys for one year, we trace the physics identity development of 134 students from three high school physics classes as well as aspects related to physics identity construction including interest, competence beliefs, and sense of recognition. The patterns suggest that the recognizing strategies used by the teachers relate to a positive shift in students' sense of recognition, which in turn facilitates the development of a physics identity. The postinterviews with six students from the three classes reveal possible mechanisms by which ER and IR strategies are internalized by students. Our findings indicate that the synergy with ER and IR strategies used as well as the nature of the activities (i.e., attainable success) are critical features of effective teacher recognition that can be internalized by the student.

Original languageEnglish
Article number020111
JournalPhysical Review Physics Education Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 21 2018


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