Communicating physics placement

The university allowed us to choose one option for the second year at the end of the first year. I did not hesitate long and I chose the communicating physics course. My motivation was influenced by an interest in diverse teaching methods probably. I have studied in several types of school.

First, I attended a primary school with the Montessori education. The curriculum was not so strict as at the state schools and we were taught with the illustrative instruments. Subsequently, I started attending the Waldorf school where we were encouraged to improve our soft motor skills by diverse activities. We played musical instruments together as a group. I was a violinist. I also recall the woodcutting course, the knight's celebration event, or a theatre performance preparation. Teachers often prepared for us non-traditional activities such as studying medieval fencing or reading the work of Odysseus. We concentrated on one subject only in each cycle and we were not directly marked, we were given a written feedback instead. At the end of year 8, I decided to start attend the state running school. I believe that a clear curriculum helped me to be prepared for the high school studies. However, I was not satisfied with the frontal way of teaching, which decreased my interest in many subjects.

It was required to write covering letter to support the communicating physics course application. The subsequent interviews, where we had to present some topic from physics, took place at our department. I considered few topics, but I eventually decided for the particle physics as I studied that at several occasions. I did not want to come up with the explanations only. I was excited by the idea of directly involving the commission as students into my demo lesson. I made an analogy to the Higgs field and asked all people present to participate in a role play. I tried to explain the cause of the mass of particles. I believe that my idea aroused interest in the commission and I was accepted to the course. It was followed by a one-day seminar on the written and unwritten rules in a school, the gender equality in teaching and the English education in general. The possibility to implement some of my ideas such as role plays in a teaching project was my only requirement in the process of the school selection. I got the placement in Graveney School London in the end.

The beginnings of my communicating physics placement were not easy. The students are selected to different classes based on their abilities. Therefore, there are significant differences in performance of each class in one year. I have observed many lessons where I was allowed to help students with their tasks. I tried to support their abstract thinking to explain them the essence of problems, rather than recommending them the simple substitutions into a formula. I was also given the opportunity to teach year seven waves, sound and light. I have already come up with several role play and experiment ideas. Perhaps my inspiration was the drama “The Investigation of the loss of the classroom book (the Jara Cimrman theatre)”. All my ideas have been accepted well by the students yet. However, I worry about them sometimes. Especially when the students prepared a role play about the longitudinal waves. Compared to a completely safe transverse wave demonstration where the students showed the Mexican wave, they prepared a gradual and mutual crash over the desks in the classroom. I am always satisfied to see students not sitting behind their desk. Conversely, it is great when they move around and express signs of joy. However, some ideas can be really dangerous, and fortunately, a teacher who has supervised me, has always helped me.

In conclusion, I would like to express my gratitude for the freedom that the school has given me to implement my project. I have found that being a teacher is a hard job. Nevertheless, the teaching experience is very interesting. I enjoy every lesson at the school. I often learn something new about physics. I cannot ignore the fact that keeping the discipline and the attention of the whole class in my physics experiments is sometimes difficult, and it is questionable whether it could be implemented into regular curriculum. It also requires a thorough preparation and a lot of instruments. However, I like the idea that children enjoy themselves during a lesson, gain new knowledge, and get involved in teaching. I do not know how will my “pedagogical experiment” be judged by my educational supervisor at Imperial College and how will my project be accepted in such conservative environment as British education is. Despite all the concerns, the school placement is a great experience for me and I will benefit from it in my future.




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