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"The more I learn about the new science GCSE, the less I want to be a science teacher"

Discussion in 'Science' started by msuxg, Mar 9, 2016.

  1. msuxg

    msuxg New commenter

  2. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    I'm in a similar place.
    The needs of the lowest achievers have been swamped. I am happy that most pupils should do a minimum of double GCSE, but some can't and consequently get a lot less. I'm working with some kids with learning problems, psychiatric problems and other difficulties. They have a bigger wall to climb now that I can't do single science - they have missed too much school to be able to get double science in the teaching time available.
    I am still getting the feel that the Government are hoping for a rise in standards as a result of legislation rather than improving what schools can offer and supporting pupils and teachers.
    msuxg likes this.
  3. rich_hodgetts

    rich_hodgetts New commenter

    I am horrified that in a country pushing for greater uptake in STEM related subjects it has been decided that learning a long list of equations (for Physics) is of educational benefit. What an excellent way to ensure that anyone unsure about science is fully switched off by the time they are half way through Y10.

    Whoever was involved in making this decision should be ashamed of themselves.
    ananke and msuxg like this.
  4. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Equations are important. In an ideal world, the kids learn them. In the real world, you remember the important ones and check the others.
    A key thing is getting the balance between rigour (knowing stuff, showing skills, applying ideas) and the excitement of using science to explore and understand the world.
    The old 2006 21st century science was great for the excitement and application, but not so hot on needing enough rigour to get good grades on the exam.
    Another key thing using using time effectively to deliver the course to give both rigour and excitement.
  5. lunarita

    lunarita Lead commenter

    Around this time I found myself 'teaching' the edexcel 360 science version of this. It was appalling. Very little real physics, lots of 'applications' and 'social impact'.

    I remember a section on waves. Very little about the physics of waves but lots about how many text messages were sent in the Uk in the year 200X, how (unspecified) advances in technology had resulted in mobile phones being made smaller and smaller. It was just awful. The kids - and their parents - thought so too and we switched to IGCSE.

    A balance is nice but if I had to choose between the rigour of equations and the waffle of social impact I'd go for the equations every time. If you don't teach the real physics, you lose the ones who are really interested. The kids who should be our physicists and engineers of the future get turned off by the nonsense and end up choosing something else for Alevel.
  6. fiendishlyclever

    fiendishlyclever Occasional commenter

    The advice I keep getting is that we need to teach for mathematical understanding which helps build equations etc. The problem is that without that level of numeracy, it switches pupils off whereas a little of the nonsense can keep them engaged and motivated. Unfortunately we have a one size fits all qualification and that doesn't suit all learners (in fact not only does one size fit all but the only difference between most of the specs is the pattern on the outfit...)
    ananke likes this.
  7. Futureleader

    Futureleader Occasional commenter

    Are the mathematical demands of the Physics really that much? Yes they are now expected to know standard form - But this is covered in Maths anyway. Most of the equations are straight forward maths such as x - + /. I agree that perhaps in a google world learning equations might be unnecessary. No so long ago they were talking about allowing students to use google to look up things in examinations. Unfortunately most of my students forget to look at the formula sheet anyway - so whether they get given them or not is irrelevant!
    I think that it will benefit those doing A level Physics and a bit of rigour never hurt anyone.

    I do agree with some of the points raised. The issue is the weaker or disaffected students. What alternatives have real currency? BTECs used to be ok(Ish) but there is nothing really decent or creditworthy for those that need alternative science provision.

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