Journal of the Korean Physical Society

, Volume 73, Issue 4, pp 422–435 | Cite as

Reflection and Outlook on Special Relativity Education from the Perspective of Einstein: Focusing on Research Papers Published in Korea

  • Hongbin Kim
  • Gyoungho LeeEmail author
Review Articles
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. JKPS 50th Anniversary Reviews


The purpose of this paper is to examine what are the most important ideas of special relativity (SR) education from Einstein’s perspective, to reflect on the previous studies of special relativity education up to the present through Einstein’s ideas, and to give prospects for its future direction. We analyzed Einstein’s book, The Evolution of Physics, focusing on three questions: Why should we teach SR? What kinds of the content knowledge of SR should we teach? How should we teach SR? Based on this analysis, we formulated three criteria for SR education: (1) intrinsic value, (2) integral knowledge, and (3) hermeneutic/communicative approach. In addition, research papers on SR education published in South Korea were analyzed based on these criteria. As a result, we have found that many studies are very different from Einstein’s perspective on SR education. And we discussed that, despite the researchers’ intentions, their studies are likely to lead other research on SR and educational practices toward the opposite of Einstein’s emphasis (i.e., instrumental purpose, fragmentary content knowledge, and partial/functional approach). Finally, we suggest Einsteinian Physics Education as a new way to improve not only SR education but also physics education in general from Einstein’s perspective.


Relativity education Special relativity Einstein Evolution of physics 


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Copyright information

© The Korean Physical Society 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physics EducationSeoul National UniversitySeoulKorea

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