This module provides an opportunity for level HE3 students to gain first hand experience of physics education through a mentoring scheme with physics teachers in local schools. Each student will work with two classes for half a day every week for a full semester of about 10 weeks. The classes will vary from key stage 3 to sixth form. Situations will be limited in number and students will be selected for their commitment and suitability for working in schools, and will be given a range of responsibilities from classroom assistance to self-orientated special projects. The module has the backing of the “Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme” (UAS) which is organising the introduction of science undergraduates into schools in this way across the .
Training and basic skills: The student will be given an introduction to relevant elements of the National Science Curriculum and its associated terminology, (e.g. ‘Key Stage 2’ etc.). They will receive basic training in working with children and conduct in the school environment, and will visit the school in which they will be working before commencement of the module.
Classroom observation and assistance: Initial contact with the teacher and pupils will be as a classroom assistant, watching how the teacher handles the class, observing the level of physics taught and the structure of the lesson, and offering practical support to the teacher in laboratory or administrative work.
Teaching assistance: The teacher will assign the student actual teaching tasks, which will be dependent on specific needs. This could include offering problem-solving coaching to a smaller group of pupils, or taking part of a lesson for the whole class.
Special project: The student will devise a special project on the basis of their own assessment of what will interest, or be of most use to, the particular pupils they are working with. This will be discussed with the teacher, who will have to approve the choice of topic and teaching method. Each student will need to demonstrate that they can analyse a specific teaching problem and devise and prepare appropriately targeted teaching materials, practical demonstrations and basic tests.
Extra-curricular projects: The student may be supervised by the teacher in running an out-of timetable activity (if appropriate), such as an after-school science club or special coaching periods for higher or lower ability students. The student will have to demonstrate an ability to formulate interesting ways to illustrate more difficult or stimulating scientific concepts.
Written reports: The student will be required to keep a journal of their progress in working in the classroom environment and to write a critical report based on this journal. Materials prepared for the special project will also be submitted, some of which may be written.
Presentation: The student will be required to make a 20-minute presentation to Physics Department staff and other students on the subject of their special project.