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Non-specialist teaching physics

Discussion in 'Science' started by jereni, Jul 25, 2011.

  1. jereni

    jereni New commenter

    OK, this is yet another question about teaching physics.

    I'm a chemistry specialist, but I'm also familiar with many of the biology and physics topics in GCSE Science and Additional Science. I also teach all three sciences at KS3.

    Last year our physics specialist retired and I had to take over GCSE Physics. I taught year 11 separate physics this year and many of the topics were completely new to me (my highest qualification in physics in an O level taken many many years ago).

    But I like teaching physics - and would like to be a better physics teacher. I'm thinking about improving my physics knowledge/qualification by either doing physics A level OR the Open University Certificate in Physics course.

    So I'm looking for advice please from a physics specialist.
  2. Moony

    Moony Lead commenter

    There is a book called teaching physics for the non-specialist. It might help you out a little :)
  3. wire247

    wire247 New commenter

    Have you considered the Science Additional Specialism Programme (SASP)?
  4. steve_cooke

    steve_cooke New commenter

    Is your school affiliated to the Institute of Physics? It only costs £40 and they run loads of courses, often aimed at non-specialists, and have regional support officers and groups.
  5. jereni

    jereni New commenter

    I have thought about working my way through the A level spec with a text book but I am not sure how committed I will be once term starts. But the OU Certificate in Physics course looks interesting - did your school pay the course fees?
  6. I didn't ask school about fees, as it was something I wanted to do anyway.
    It is a good course, but to get the most out of it, you need to be able to study properly- I never felt calm enough/ had enough time to do it justice. The week away to do the practical component, over the summer break was well worth it too. I loved being a 'proper student' again, even if only for a week
    If you're not feeling able to commit to working through the A level spec once term starts, you will find getting through a topic book and assignment every month difficult.
  7. jereni

    jereni New commenter

    You could be right, but I like OU courses - I did my PGCE through the OU a few years ago and it worked well for me. How many hours of study a week do you think you needed to do the certificate?
  8. They recommend 16 hours per week. I never had that time, or in fact time to do more than skim the text book 3 nights before the assignment was due, then frantically look up relevant bit/ equations for each question. I REALLY regret this now, as I haven't retained that much of the interesting stuff. I was fortunate that my mathematical background was strong enough to do that but I wouldn't recommend the approach.
    I think if I were to do it justice, I'd have needed one afternoon of the weekend every week- i.e. 4-6 hours, but I do read very quickly and retain information well and didn't need to do masses of the practice questions in the book to be able to scrape through assignments.

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