Dr. Esther Bagno is a Senior Staff Scientist in the Science Teaching Department and has a major role in the research and development activities of the Physics Group.
Dr. Bagno's aim is to raise the quality of learning and teaching in Israeli high schools. Her work builds on her first-hand experience as a physics teacher for 17 years and own research. A major strand in her work has been the design, implementation and study of professional development frameworks for physics teachers aimed at nurturing teachers' professionalism (e.g. their knowledge of physics and physics teaching).
She has been the director of the National Center for Physics Teachers since its establishment in 1995. The National Center supports physics teachers practice (about 1000 teachers) through a variety of professional development programs and resources delivered mainly through the very popular website of physics teachers that she directs. The website includes a huge repository of meaningful, viable and sustainable materials attuned to teachers daily needs (e.g. relevant tasks and problems on particular topics). The website also facilitates dynamic and peer-supported interactions among teachers from all over the country attracting numerous visits per day and downloads of learning/teaching materials.
Among many other initiatives, Dr. Bagno has been leading with Prof. Eylon a three years project aimed at cultivating high quality "learner-centered" physics teaching as a means to attract high-school students to physics learning and decrease the dropout of students who are already majoring in physics.
They have developed a professional development program for physics teachers disseminated by regional "learning communities" of physics teachers. The communities enable the individual teacher to share with colleagues experience and resources, to become acquainted with "learner-centered" teaching, and promote collaboratively evidence-based excellent practice.
A group of 23 experienced physics teachers are being trained in the Science Teaching Department to serve as teacher-leaders for the communities. These teacher leaders are running ten regional "learning communities" facing 130 physics teachers and through them approaching thousands of students.
The vision is that regional teacher communities will be set up throughout the whole country and provide long-term professional development opportunities for the Israeli physics teachers.
Dr. Bagno collaborates closely with the Israeli Ministry of Education and serves on several of its committees devoted to physics learning and teaching. She lectures and leads workshops and courses and serves on graduate program committees.