Date of Graduation

Spring 2023


Master of Natural and Applied Science in Physics


Physics, Astronomy, and Materials Science

Committee Chair

David Cornelison


A pilot study conducted in the pre-service teacher (PST) physics classroom at Missouri State University sought to validate a tool for learning. A writing treatment, in which students were asked to participate in reflective freewriting exercises over the course of the semester was administered to one lab group. The Physics Attitude Scale was used to determine whether a positive impact was made on pre-service teacher attitudes about physics and teaching physics. Classroom exams and lab reports were used to determine whether or not aptitude was affected. This action research study used qualitative data to assess content knowledge and overall shift in attitude as well as qualitative data gathered from the reflective writing assignments to obtain a more comprehensive view of shifting attitudes and aptitudes. The researcher’s narrative notes followed implementation and reception of the writing treatment and were used to provide greater insight into effectiveness of the treatment. This study found that PST attitudes did experience a clear shift in attitude but could not, with certainty, attribute the shift to the writing treatment alone. It was also found that aptitude was likely not affected. This research hopes to spur further work to assess the connection between reflective writing and PST perspective and understanding of physics.


pre-service teachers, reflective writing, write-to-learn, freewriting, physics, physics education, teacher attitudes, STEM education

Subject Categories

Education | Physical Sciences and Mathematics | Physics | Science and Mathematics Education | Teacher Education and Professional Development


© Kali Ann Shoaf-Laughlin

Open Access