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How to teach a science you're not training in - especially chemistry!!

Discussion in 'Science' started by hedleyclanstuff, Aug 14, 2016.

  1. hedleyclanstuff

    hedleyclanstuff New commenter

    Hi, I'm starting a PGCE in Secondary teaching (Physics) this September. I'm doing an SKE to bring my Physics up to scratch as it's been a while since I graduated in engineering. However, as I'll have to teach all sciences up to at least KS3 I asked for some chemistry modules, which I've just completed - and it's totally freaked me out!

    Physics came back to me really easily and I'm loving it. But Chemistry I just don't get :-( . The modules started at GCSE and I soon realised I needed to go back a step. I went through the whole of KS3 bitesize chemistry and am half way through bitesize GCSE but I still feel like I'm missing some significant basics.

    Can anyone recommend a book on basic chemistry, designed for science teachers who are not chemists?? I have observed a few science lessons where things aren't going well and the teacher just says 'well I'm not a xxxist'. It doesn't cut it with the kids and I don't want to end up in that place!!

  2. msuxg

    msuxg New commenter

    pepper5 likes this.
  3. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    There is a book on Amazon titled Teach Yourself Chemistry. It has good reviews.
  4. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

  5. Moony

    Moony Lead commenter

  6. Moony

    Moony Lead commenter

  7. Teaching_Tricks

    Teaching_Tricks Occasional commenter

    If you know the board you are teaching - get a revision guide, it will show the level of detail you need (in broad terms) you need to know a bit more than this....

    A good general Chemistry GCSE textbook is GCSE Chemistry for You - don't worry about it not being the latest edition going back one or two won't hurt...

    Talk to the Chemist specialist teachers in the dept (being one myself) I am always happy to help out the newer members of the profession...

    Get yourself on Twitter - loads of good stuff there and loads of helpful people too :)
  8. hedleyclanstuff

    hedleyclanstuff New commenter

    Wow, thanks everyone, super helpful stuff!! Very much appreciated :D

    Our schools direct lead has reassured me that most science teachers have a subject they're not so great at, and that on the PGCE I should only get physics at KS4, but it's great to know there are so many resources and helpful people out there for when I get stuck ;)
  9. Teaching_Tricks

    Teaching_Tricks Occasional commenter

    As the ITT professional tutor in my school and a scientist.... I am afraid to say it is unlikely you will only get Physics at KS4, yes at KS5... but at KS4 you are expected to teach all 3 sciences...
  10. phatmos01

    phatmos01 New commenter

    I think you can go to a chemistry teacher closer to you or in your school and tell him to teach you whatever you don't understand. It will help a lot.

    You can also use a chemistry teacher as your resource person. It will really help the students and you learn also
  11. Thejumpingjew

    Thejumpingjew New commenter

    I have to concur with Teaching_Tricks, the minimum I would expect of any teacher now matter is 30 yrs experience or NQT is to be ABLE to teach all three to KS4 standard. However that does not Mean you would be as confident in all of them. Being confident in 2/3 is normally a good start.

    The best way to do this is to do the papers yourself ... learn hat the examiners want. A revision guide is an excellent purchase. Ensure all your key learning notes are on ppt and don't be afraid to admit you don't know something if an extending question comes up that goes beyond the realms of the spec.

    I have has to teach bio, chem and phys in parts to a-level before and the best answer I can give to what to do is to work hard at re-learning your stuff. set it as a PM target - it will help you as both a teacherr and can be rewarding to learn something new.
  12. brighton56

    brighton56 Occasional commenter

    Fabulous advice from all of the above posters. Remember, most other teachers within the school shudder when they are asked to cover a science lesson if someone is absent or on a course as there is so much you need to know as a science teacher. Hold your head up high as you are technically expected to teach 3 subjects in KS3 and KS4. With A-level, you usually teach your specialism (depending on other staff expertise though) and this broadens even further with subjects like Environmental Science.

    Very best of luck with your training. You have picked the best subject to teach!

    P.S. Don't forget all the amazing experiments you can do within chemistry - much more enjoyable than physics!

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