Towards Meaningful Physics Recognition: What does this recognition actually look like?

In the February 2017 issue of The Physics Teacher, an article was presented that highlighted the importance of high school physics teachers in inspiring women in physics, particularly by recognizing them as being a “physics person.”1 Drawing on data from over 900 female undergraduates in physics, the article showed that the largest fraction became interested in physics careers during high school. In particular, being recognized by their physics teacher substantially increased the odds of their planning physics careers by the beginning of college. Since this article was published, questions have been directed toward us from physics teachers regarding the nature of recognition, e.g., how do we recognize a student meaningfully and what does recognition look like in the classroom? For example, one teacher wrote saying:
I specifically wanted to tell you how much I appreciated this: …your closing note that not all recognition is meaningful, and that the key is high expectations for all and recognition of when [expectations are] met…I wrote in my margins on the page before, “What does this recognition actually look like?”
Given this candid feedback from teachers, the current article examines recognition a little further by presenting the case of a physics teacher, Dr. D, and his student, Kristina, to address the question: What are the ways in which a young woman perceives recognition from her teacher? We begin by providing some background for the theoretical framework (recognition as it relates to physics identity) and justifying why Dr. D and Kristina provide a relevant case to examine. The way in which Kristina feels recognized by Dr. D’s actions is then presented in more detail.

Hazari, Z. & Cass, C. (2018). Towards Meaningful Physics Recognition: What does this recognition actually look like? The Physics Teacher, 56.