Vegetarian Discussion: Physics Teacher Begs For His Subject Back: An Open Letter To AQA And The Department Of Education. Watering Down Standards. Wot About Da Kidz?

Physics Teacher Begs For His Subject Back: An Open Letter To AQA And The Department Of Education. Watering Down Standards. Wot About Da Kidz?
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Albert Einstein
2007-06-08 13:27:09 EST
Time we all supported our schools, teachers, & stood up for our
children?

A sorry tale of where we went wrong, when the world started going
backwards with modern ideas!

Dumbing down is wrong and dangerous!

vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv

A physics teacher begs for his subject back: An open letter to AQA and
The Department of Education

http://tinyurl.com/2xlj26

http://www.wellingtongrey.net/


I am a physics teacher. Or, at least I used to be. My subject is still
called physics. My pupils will sit an exam and earn a GCSE in physics,
but that exam doesn’t cover anything I recognize as physics. Over the
past year the UK Department for Education http://www.dfes.gov.uk/
and the AQA board http://www.aqa.org.uk/ changed the subject. They
took the physics out of physics and replaced it with… something else,
something nebulous and ill defined. I worry about this change. I worry
about my pupils, I worry about the state of science education in this
country, and I worry about the future physics teachers — if there will
be any.

I graduated from a prestigious university with a degree in physics and
pursued a lucrative career in economics which I eventually abandoned
to teach. Economics and business, though vastly easier than my
subject, and more financially rewarding, bored me. I went into
teaching to return to the world of science and to, in what extent I
could, convey to pupils why one would love a subject so difficult.

For a time I did. For a time, I was happy.

But this past academic year things changed. The Department for
Education and the AQA board brought in a new syllabus for the
sciences. One which greatly increased the teaching of `how science
works.’ While my colleagues expressed scepticism, I was hopeful. After
all, most pupils will not follow science at a higher level, so we
should at least impart them with a sense of what it can tell us about
our universe.

That did not happen

The result is a fiasco that will destroy physics in England.

The thing that attracts pupils to physics is its precision. Here, at
last, is a discipline that gives real answers that apply to the
physical world. But that precision is now gone. Calculations — the
very soul of physics — are absent from the new GCSE. Physics is a
subject unpolluted by a torrent of malleable words, but now everything
must be described in words.

In this course, pupils debate topics like global warming and nuclear
power. Debate drives science, but pupils do not learn meaningful
information about the topics they debate. Scientific argument is based
on quantifiable evidence. The person with the better evidence, not the
better rhetoric or talking points, wins. But my pupils now discuss the
benefits and drawbacks of nuclear power plants, without any real
understanding of how they work or what radiation is.

I want to teach my subject, to pass on my love of physics to those few
who would appreciate it. But I can’t. There is nothing to love in the
new course. I see no reason that anyone taking this new GCSE would
want to pursue the subject. This is the death of physics.

Specific Complaints:
My complaints about the new syllabus fall into four categories: the
vague, the stupid, the political, and the non-science.

The Vague:
The specification provided by the AQA (available at their website)
is http://aqa.org.uk/qual/pdf/AQA-4462-W-SP-08.PDF vaguely worded.
Every section starts with either phrase ‘to evaluate the possible
hazards and uses of…’ or ‘to compare the advantages and disadvantages
of…’ without listing exactly what hazards, uses, advantages or
disadvantages the board actually requires pupils to learn. The amount
of knowledge on any given topic, such as the electromagnetic spectrum,
could fill an entire year at the university level. But no guidance is
given to teachers and, as a result, the exam blindsides pupils with
questions like:

Suggest why he [a dark skinned person] can sunbathe with less risk of
getting skin cancer than a fair skinned person.

To get the mark, pupils must answer:

More UV absorbed by dark skin (more melanin)
Less UV penetrates deep to damage living cells / tissue
Nowhere does the specification mention the words sunscreen or melanin.
It doesn’t say pupils need to know the difference between surface dead
skin and deeper living tissue. There is no reason any physics teacher
would cover such material, or why any pupil should expect to be tested
on it.

The Stupid:
On topics that are covered by the specification, the exam board has
answers that indicate a lack of knowledge on the writer’s part. One
questions asks `why would radio stations broadcast digital signals
rather than analogue signals?’ An acceptable answer is:

Can be processed by computer / ipod [sic]
Aside from the stupidity of the answer, (iPods, at the time of this
writing, don’t have radio turners and computers can process analogue
signals) writing the mark scheme in this way is thoughtless, as
teachers can only give marks that exactly match its language. So does
the pupil get the mark if they mention any other mp3 player?
Technically, no. Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Digital_audio_players
currently lists 63 different players. Is it safe to assume that the
examiner will be familiar with all of them? Doubtful.

If the question is not poorly worded, or not covered in the
specification, it will be insultingly easy. The first question on a
sample paper started:

A newspaper article has the heading: ‘Are mobiles putting our children
at risk?’ A recent report said that children under the age of nine
should not use mobile phones…

The first question on the paper was:

Below which age is it recommended that children use a mobile phone in
emergencies only?

This is the kind of reading comprehension question I would expect in a
primary school English lesson, not a secondary school GCSE.

The Political:
The number of questions that relate to global warming is appalling. I
do not deny that pupils should know about the topic, nor do I deny its
importance. However, it should not be the main focus of every topic.
The pupils (and their teachers) are growing apathetic from
overexposure.

A paper question asked: `Why must we develop renewable energy
sources.’ This is a political question. Worse yet, a political
statement. I’m not saying I disagree with it, just that it has no
place on a physics GCSE paper.

Pupils are taught to poke holes in scientific experiments, to
constantly find what is wrong. However, never are the pupils given
ways to determine when an experiment is reliable, to know when an
experiment yields information about the world that we can trust. This
encourages the belief that all quantitative data is unreliable and
untrustworthy. Some of my pupils, after a year of the course, have
gone from scientifically minded individuals to thinking, “It’s not
possible to know anything, so why bother?” Combining distrust of
scientific evidence with debates won on style and presentation alone
is an unnerving trend that will lead society astray.

The Non-scientific:
Lastly, I present the final question on the January physics exam in
its entirety:

Electricity can also be generated using renewable energy sources. Look
at this information from a newspaper report.

The energy from burning bio-fuels, such a woodchip and straw, can be
used to generate electricity.
Plants for bio-fuels use up carbon dioxide as they grow.
Farmers get grants to grow plants for bio-fuels.
Electricity generated from bio-fuels can be sold at a higher price
than electricity generated from burning fossil fuels.
Growing plants for bio-fuels offers new opportunities for rural
communities. Suggest why, apart from the declining reserves of fossil
fuels, power companies should use more bio-fuels and less fossil fuels
to generate electricity.
The only marks that a pupil can get are for saying:

Overall add no carbon dioxide to the environment
Power companies make more profit
Opportunity to grew new type of crop (growing plants in swamps)
More Jobs
None of this material is in the specification, nor can a pupil
reliably deduce the answers from the given information. Physics isn’t
a pedestrian subject about power companies and increasing their
profits, or jobs in a rural community, it’s is about far grander and
broader ideas.
http://www.powersof10.com/

Conclusion:
My pupils complained that the exam did not test the material they were
given to study, and they are largely correct. The information tested
was not in the specification given to the teachers, nor in the
approved resources suggested by the AQA board. When I asked AQA about
the issues with their exam they told me to write a letter of
complaint, and this I have done. But, rather than mail it to AQA to
sit ignored on a desk, I am making it public in the hope that more
attention can be brought to this problem.

There is a teacher shortage in this country, but if a physicist asked
my advice on becoming a teacher, I would have to say: don’t. Don’t
unless you want to watch a subject you love dismantled.

I am a young and once-enthusiastic physics teacher. I despair at what
I am forced to teach. I have potentially thirty years of lessons to
give, but I didn’t sign up for this — and the business world still
calls. There I won’t have to endure the pain of trying to animate a
crippled subject. The rigorous of physics been torn down and replaced
with impotent science media studies.

I beg of the government and the AQA board, please, give me back my
subject and let me do my job.

Sincerely,

Wellington Grey

http://www.WellingtonGrey.net/




Please help spread the word and vote for this story on digg.


Ian Smith
2007-06-08 15:58:32 EST
On Fri, 08 Jun 2007 18:27:09 +0100, Albert Einstein wrote:

> Time we all supported our schools, teachers, & stood up for our children?
>
> A sorry tale of where we went wrong, when the world started going
> backwards with modern ideas!
>
> Dumbing down is wrong and dangerous!
>
> vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv
>
> A physics teacher begs for his subject back: An open letter to AQA and The
> Department of Education
>
> http://tinyurl.com/2xlj26
>
> http://www.wellingtongrey.net/
>
>
> I am a physics teacher. Or, at least I used to be. My subject is still
> called physics. My pupils will sit an exam and earn a GCSE in physics, but
> that exam doesn’t cover anything I recognize as physics. Over the past
> year the UK Department for Education http://www.dfes.gov.uk/
> and the AQA board http://www.aqa.org.uk/ changed the subject. They
> took the physics out of physics and replaced it with… something else,
> something nebulous and ill defined. I worry about this change. I worry
> about my pupils, I worry about the state of science education in this
> country, and I worry about the future physics teachers — if there will be
> any.
>
> I graduated from a prestigious university with a degree in physics and
> pursued a lucrative career in economics which I eventually abandoned to
> teach. Economics and business, though vastly easier than my subject, and
> more financially rewarding, bored me. I went into teaching to return to
> the world of science and to, in what extent I could, convey to pupils why
> one would love a subject so difficult.
>
> For a time I did. For a time, I was happy.
>
> But this past academic year things changed. The Department for Education
> and the AQA board brought in a new syllabus for the sciences. One which
> greatly increased the teaching of `how science works.’ While my
> colleagues expressed scepticism, I was hopeful. After all, most pupils
> will not follow science at a higher level, so we should at least impart
> them with a sense of what it can tell us about our universe.
>
> That did not happen
>
> The result is a fiasco that will destroy physics in England.
>
> The thing that attracts pupils to physics is its precision. Here, at last,
> is a discipline that gives real answers that apply to the physical world.
> But that precision is now gone. Calculations — the very soul of physics
> — are absent from the new GCSE. Physics is a subject unpolluted by a
> torrent of malleable words, but now everything must be described in words.
>
> In this course, pupils debate topics like global warming and nuclear
> power. Debate drives science, but pupils do not learn meaningful
> information about the topics they debate. Scientific argument is based on
> quantifiable evidence. The person with the better evidence, not the better
> rhetoric or talking points, wins. But my pupils now discuss the benefits
> and drawbacks of nuclear power plants, without any real understanding of
> how they work or what radiation is.
>
> I want to teach my subject, to pass on my love of physics to those few who
> would appreciate it. But I can’t. There is nothing to love in the new
> course. I see no reason that anyone taking this new GCSE would want to
> pursue the subject. This is the death of physics.
>
> Specific Complaints:
> My complaints about the new syllabus fall into four categories: the vague,
> the stupid, the political, and the non-science.
>
> The Vague:
> The specification provided by the AQA (available at their website) is
> http://aqa.org.uk/qual/pdf/AQA-4462-W-SP-08.PDF vaguely worded. Every
> section starts with either phrase ‘to evaluate the possible hazards and
> uses of…’ or ‘to compare the advantages and disadvantages of…’
> without listing exactly what hazards, uses, advantages or disadvantages
> the board actually requires pupils to learn. The amount of knowledge on
> any given topic, such as the electromagnetic spectrum, could fill an
> entire year at the university level. But no guidance is given to teachers
> and, as a result, the exam blindsides pupils with questions like:
>
> Suggest why he [a dark skinned person] can sunbathe with less risk of
> getting skin cancer than a fair skinned person.
>
> To get the mark, pupils must answer:
>
> More UV absorbed by dark skin (more melanin) Less UV penetrates deep to
> damage living cells / tissue Nowhere does the specification mention the
> words sunscreen or melanin. It doesn’t say pupils need to know the
> difference between surface dead skin and deeper living tissue. There is no
> reason any physics teacher would cover such material, or why any pupil
> should expect to be tested on it.
>
> The Stupid:
> On topics that are covered by the specification, the exam board has
> answers that indicate a lack of knowledge on the writer’s part. One
> questions asks `why would radio stations broadcast digital signals rather
> than analogue signals?’ An acceptable answer is:
>
> Can be processed by computer / ipod [sic] Aside from the stupidity of the
> answer, (iPods, at the time of this writing, don’t have radio turners and
> computers can process analogue signals) writing the mark scheme in this
> way is thoughtless, as teachers can only give marks that exactly match its
> language. So does the pupil get the mark if they mention any other mp3
> player? Technically, no. Wikipedia
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Digital_audio_players
> currently lists 63 different players. Is it safe to assume that the
> examiner will be familiar with all of them? Doubtful.
>
> If the question is not poorly worded, or not covered in the specification,
> it will be insultingly easy. The first question on a sample paper started:
>
> A newspaper article has the heading: ‘Are mobiles putting our children at
> risk?’ A recent report said that children under the age of nine should
> not use mobile phones…
>
> The first question on the paper was:
>
> Below which age is it recommended that children use a mobile phone in
> emergencies only?
>
> This is the kind of reading comprehension question I would expect in a
> primary school English lesson, not a secondary school GCSE.
>
> The Political:
> The number of questions that relate to global warming is appalling. I do
> not deny that pupils should know about the topic, nor do I deny its
> importance. However, it should not be the main focus of every topic. The
> pupils (and their teachers) are growing apathetic from overexposure.
>
> A paper question asked: `Why must we develop renewable energy sources.’
> This is a political question. Worse yet, a political statement. I’m not
> saying I disagree with it, just that it has no place on a physics GCSE
> paper.
>
> Pupils are taught to poke holes in scientific experiments, to constantly
> find what is wrong. However, never are the pupils given ways to determine
> when an experiment is reliable, to know when an experiment yields
> information about the world that we can trust. This encourages the belief
> that all quantitative data is unreliable and untrustworthy. Some of my
> pupils, after a year of the course, have gone from scientifically minded
> individuals to thinking, “It’s not possible to know anything, so why
> bother?” Combining distrust of scientific evidence with debates won on
> style and presentation alone is an unnerving trend that will lead society
> astray.
>
> The Non-scientific:
> Lastly, I present the final question on the January physics exam in its
> entirety:
>
> Electricity can also be generated using renewable energy sources. Look at
> this information from a newspaper report.
>
> The energy from burning bio-fuels, such a woodchip and straw, can be used
> to generate electricity.
> Plants for bio-fuels use up carbon dioxide as they grow. Farmers get
> grants to grow plants for bio-fuels. Electricity generated from bio-fuels
> can be sold at a higher price than electricity generated from burning
> fossil fuels. Growing plants for bio-fuels offers new opportunities for
> rural communities. Suggest why, apart from the declining reserves of
> fossil fuels, power companies should use more bio-fuels and less fossil
> fuels to generate electricity.
> The only marks that a pupil can get are for saying:
>
> Overall add no carbon dioxide to the environment Power companies make more
> profit
> Opportunity to grew new type of crop (growing plants in swamps) More Jobs
> None of this material is in the specification, nor can a pupil reliably
> deduce the answers from the given information. Physics isn’t a pedestrian
> subject about power companies and increasing their profits, or jobs in a
> rural community, it’s is about far grander and broader ideas.
> http://www.powersof10.com/
>
> Conclusion:
> My pupils complained that the exam did not test the material they were
> given to study, and they are largely correct. The information tested was
> not in the specification given to the teachers, nor in the approved
> resources suggested by the AQA board. When I asked AQA about the issues
> with their exam they told me to write a letter of complaint, and this I
> have done. But, rather than mail it to AQA to sit ignored on a desk, I am
> making it public in the hope that more attention can be brought to this
> problem.
>
> There is a teacher shortage in this country, but if a physicist asked my
> advice on becoming a teacher, I would have to say: don’t. Don’t unless
> you want to watch a subject you love dismantled.
>
> I am a young and once-enthusiastic physics teacher. I despair at what I am
> forced to teach. I have potentially thirty years of lessons to give, but I
> didn’t sign up for this — and the business world still calls. There I
> won’t have to endure the pain of trying to animate a crippled subject.
> The rigorous of physics been torn down and replaced with impotent science
> media studies.
>
> I beg of the government and the AQA board, please, give me back my subject
> and let me do my job.
>
> Sincerely,
>
> Wellington Grey
>
> http://www.WellingtonGrey.net/
>
>
>
>
> Please help spread the word and vote for this story on digg.

If all of this is true, then it is a damning indictment of the education
system. When we replace the teaching of science with political
ideology, our future as a significant economy is screwed.

Jim Webster
2007-06-08 16:12:25 EST
On Fri, 08 Jun 2007 20:58:32 +0100, Ian Smith
<*e@btinternet.naespam.com> wrote:

>On Fri, 08 Jun 2007 18:27:09 +0100, Albert Einstein wrote:
>
>> Time we all supported our schools, teachers, & stood up for our children?
>>
>> A sorry tale of where we went wrong, when the world started going
>> backwards with modern ideas!
>>
>> Dumbing down is wrong and dangerous!
>>
>> vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv
>>
>> A physics teacher begs for his subject back: An open letter to AQA and The
>> Department of Education
>>
>> http://tinyurl.com/2xlj26
>>
>> http://www.wellingtongrey.net/
>>
>>
>> I am a physics teacher. Or, at least I used to be. My subject is still
>> called physics. My pupils will sit an exam and earn a GCSE in physics, but
>> that exam doesn’t cover anything I recognize as physics. Over the past
>> year the UK Department for Education http://www.dfes.gov.uk/
>> and the AQA board http://www.aqa.org.uk/ changed the subject. They
>> took the physics out of physics and replaced it with… something else,
>> something nebulous and ill defined. I worry about this change. I worry
>> about my pupils, I worry about the state of science education in this
>> country, and I worry about the future physics teachers — if there will be
>> any.
>>
>> I graduated from a prestigious university with a degree in physics and
>> pursued a lucrative career in economics which I eventually abandoned to
>> teach. Economics and business, though vastly easier than my subject, and
>> more financially rewarding, bored me. I went into teaching to return to
>> the world of science and to, in what extent I could, convey to pupils why
>> one would love a subject so difficult.
>>
>> For a time I did. For a time, I was happy.
>>
>> But this past academic year things changed. The Department for Education
>> and the AQA board brought in a new syllabus for the sciences. One which
>> greatly increased the teaching of `how science works.’ While my
>> colleagues expressed scepticism, I was hopeful. After all, most pupils
>> will not follow science at a higher level, so we should at least impart
>> them with a sense of what it can tell us about our universe.
>>
>> That did not happen
>>
>> The result is a fiasco that will destroy physics in England.
>>
>> The thing that attracts pupils to physics is its precision. Here, at last,
>> is a discipline that gives real answers that apply to the physical world.
>> But that precision is now gone. Calculations — the very soul of physics
>> — are absent from the new GCSE. Physics is a subject unpolluted by a
>> torrent of malleable words, but now everything must be described in words.
>>
>> In this course, pupils debate topics like global warming and nuclear
>> power. Debate drives science, but pupils do not learn meaningful
>> information about the topics they debate. Scientific argument is based on
>> quantifiable evidence. The person with the better evidence, not the better
>> rhetoric or talking points, wins. But my pupils now discuss the benefits
>> and drawbacks of nuclear power plants, without any real understanding of
>> how they work or what radiation is.
>>
>> I want to teach my subject, to pass on my love of physics to those few who
>> would appreciate it. But I can’t. There is nothing to love in the new
>> course. I see no reason that anyone taking this new GCSE would want to
>> pursue the subject. This is the death of physics.
>>
>> Specific Complaints:
>> My complaints about the new syllabus fall into four categories: the vague,
>> the stupid, the political, and the non-science.
>>
>> The Vague:
>> The specification provided by the AQA (available at their website) is
>> http://aqa.org.uk/qual/pdf/AQA-4462-W-SP-08.PDF vaguely worded. Every
>> section starts with either phrase ‘to evaluate the possible hazards and
>> uses of…’ or ‘to compare the advantages and disadvantages of…’
>> without listing exactly what hazards, uses, advantages or disadvantages
>> the board actually requires pupils to learn. The amount of knowledge on
>> any given topic, such as the electromagnetic spectrum, could fill an
>> entire year at the university level. But no guidance is given to teachers
>> and, as a result, the exam blindsides pupils with questions like:
>>
>> Suggest why he [a dark skinned person] can sunbathe with less risk of
>> getting skin cancer than a fair skinned person.
>>
>> To get the mark, pupils must answer:
>>
>> More UV absorbed by dark skin (more melanin) Less UV penetrates deep to
>> damage living cells / tissue Nowhere does the specification mention the
>> words sunscreen or melanin. It doesn’t say pupils need to know the
>> difference between surface dead skin and deeper living tissue. There is no
>> reason any physics teacher would cover such material, or why any pupil
>> should expect to be tested on it.
>>
>> The Stupid:
>> On topics that are covered by the specification, the exam board has
>> answers that indicate a lack of knowledge on the writer’s part. One
>> questions asks `why would radio stations broadcast digital signals rather
>> than analogue signals?’ An acceptable answer is:
>>
>> Can be processed by computer / ipod [sic] Aside from the stupidity of the
>> answer, (iPods, at the time of this writing, don’t have radio turners and
>> computers can process analogue signals) writing the mark scheme in this
>> way is thoughtless, as teachers can only give marks that exactly match its
>> language. So does the pupil get the mark if they mention any other mp3
>> player? Technically, no. Wikipedia
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Digital_audio_players
>> currently lists 63 different players. Is it safe to assume that the
>> examiner will be familiar with all of them? Doubtful.
>>
>> If the question is not poorly worded, or not covered in the specification,
>> it will be insultingly easy. The first question on a sample paper started:
>>
>> A newspaper article has the heading: ‘Are mobiles putting our children at
>> risk?’ A recent report said that children under the age of nine should
>> not use mobile phones…
>>
>> The first question on the paper was:
>>
>> Below which age is it recommended that children use a mobile phone in
>> emergencies only?
>>
>> This is the kind of reading comprehension question I would expect in a
>> primary school English lesson, not a secondary school GCSE.
>>
>> The Political:
>> The number of questions that relate to global warming is appalling. I do
>> not deny that pupils should know about the topic, nor do I deny its
>> importance. However, it should not be the main focus of every topic. The
>> pupils (and their teachers) are growing apathetic from overexposure.
>>
>> A paper question asked: `Why must we develop renewable energy sources.’
>> This is a political question. Worse yet, a political statement. I’m not
>> saying I disagree with it, just that it has no place on a physics GCSE
>> paper.
>>
>> Pupils are taught to poke holes in scientific experiments, to constantly
>> find what is wrong. However, never are the pupils given ways to determine
>> when an experiment is reliable, to know when an experiment yields
>> information about the world that we can trust. This encourages the belief
>> that all quantitative data is unreliable and untrustworthy. Some of my
>> pupils, after a year of the course, have gone from scientifically minded
>> individuals to thinking, “It’s not possible to know anything, so why
>> bother?” Combining distrust of scientific evidence with debates won on
>> style and presentation alone is an unnerving trend that will lead society
>> astray.
>>
>> The Non-scientific:
>> Lastly, I present the final question on the January physics exam in its
>> entirety:
>>
>> Electricity can also be generated using renewable energy sources. Look at
>> this information from a newspaper report.
>>
>> The energy from burning bio-fuels, such a woodchip and straw, can be used
>> to generate electricity.
>> Plants for bio-fuels use up carbon dioxide as they grow. Farmers get
>> grants to grow plants for bio-fuels. Electricity generated from bio-fuels
>> can be sold at a higher price than electricity generated from burning
>> fossil fuels. Growing plants for bio-fuels offers new opportunities for
>> rural communities. Suggest why, apart from the declining reserves of
>> fossil fuels, power companies should use more bio-fuels and less fossil
>> fuels to generate electricity.
>> The only marks that a pupil can get are for saying:
>>
>> Overall add no carbon dioxide to the environment Power companies make more
>> profit
>> Opportunity to grew new type of crop (growing plants in swamps) More Jobs
>> None of this material is in the specification, nor can a pupil reliably
>> deduce the answers from the given information. Physics isn’t a pedestrian
>> subject about power companies and increasing their profits, or jobs in a
>> rural community, it’s is about far grander and broader ideas.
>> http://www.powersof10.com/
>>
>> Conclusion:
>> My pupils complained that the exam did not test the material they were
>> given to study, and they are largely correct. The information tested was
>> not in the specification given to the teachers, nor in the approved
>> resources suggested by the AQA board. When I asked AQA about the issues
>> with their exam they told me to write a letter of complaint, and this I
>> have done. But, rather than mail it to AQA to sit ignored on a desk, I am
>> making it public in the hope that more attention can be brought to this
>> problem.
>>
>> There is a teacher shortage in this country, but if a physicist asked my
>> advice on becoming a teacher, I would have to say: don’t. Don’t unless
>> you want to watch a subject you love dismantled.
>>
>> I am a young and once-enthusiastic physics teacher. I despair at what I am
>> forced to teach. I have potentially thirty years of lessons to give, but I
>> didn’t sign up for this — and the business world still calls. There I
>> won’t have to endure the pain of trying to animate a crippled subject.
>> The rigorous of physics been torn down and replaced with impotent science
>> media studies.
>>
>> I beg of the government and the AQA board, please, give me back my subject
>> and let me do my job.
>>
>> Sincerely,
>>
>> Wellington Grey
>>
>> http://www.WellingtonGrey.net/
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> Please help spread the word and vote for this story on digg.
>
>If all of this is true, then it is a damning indictment of the education
>system. When we replace the teaching of science with political
>ideology, our future as a significant economy is screwed.

It's a tragedy sure enough! Too late to change in this climate of PC
bullshit? I don't know.

Old Codger
2007-06-08 17:05:45 EST
Ian Smith wrote:
> On Fri, 08 Jun 2007 18:27:09 +0100, Albert Einstein wrote:
>
>> Time we all supported our schools, teachers, & stood up for our children?
>>
>> A sorry tale of where we went wrong, when the world started going
>> backwards with modern ideas!
>>
>> Dumbing down is wrong and dangerous!
>>
>> vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv
>>
>> A physics teacher begs for his subject back: An open letter to AQA and The
>> Department of Education

<Snip>

>
> If all of this is true, then it is a damning indictment of the education
> system. When we replace the teaching of science with political
> ideology, our future as a significant economy is screwed.

It is already screwed. Only the City now enables us to be a significant
economy and that activity can be carried out anywhere in the world.
Taken together with the continual attempts to take over the LSE and it
is only a matter of time before we cease to have any influence.


--
Old Codger
e-mail use reply to field

What matters in politics is not what happens, but what you can make
people believe has happened. [Janet Daley 27/8/2003]

Oh No
2007-06-08 17:30:15 EST
Thus spake Old Codger <oldcodger@anyoldwhere.net>
>Ian Smith wrote:
>> On Fri, 08 Jun 2007 18:27:09 +0100, Albert Einstein wrote:
>>
>
>It is already screwed. Only the City now enables us to be a
>significant economy and that activity can be carried out anywhere in
>the world.

As with many a serious career, the job is learned on the job, by
association with those who are already doing it. So long as the job is
being done in London, people have to go to London to learn it's skills.
That can keep it in London, but the city likes to take on highly
educated people - both because their faces fit, and because they don't
want to waste time taking on people who don't have the ability. So long
as our education system could provide the most educated people, these
were the ones who would be taken on. The real danger with dumbing down
of the education system is that this is no longer the case. Instead of
genuine high achievers, it churns out conceited no hopers who think
their exam results show they have top level ability. It's a catastrophe
taking such people on in a high powered job. The obvious answer for the
city is to take on French and, as oz says, Indians. Naturally if we
train foreigners rather than brits to work in the city, the end result
will be that they do take the trade abroad.



Regards

--
Charles Francis
moderator sci.physics.foundations.
substitute charles for NotI to email

--
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com


Buddenbrooks
2007-06-08 17:53:07 EST

"Old Codger" <oldcodger@anyoldwhere.net> wrote in message
news:4669c4c7$0$27857$db0fefd9@news.zen.co.uk...
Only the City now enables us to be a significant
> economy and that activity can be carried out anywhere in the world. Taken
> together with the continual attempts to take over the LSE and it is only a
> matter of time before we cease to have any influence.
>
>

Most economic activity can be done anywhere in the world. I suspect that
major economic centres will be where the directors
want to live at the time. Countries will not be able to bribe because the
companies are such cash engines they can dictate terms from any country.

The UK does have a number of advantages, as a relatively pleasant and
crime fre country with good infrastructure and connection to the world. Also
this level of company migration works best where the directors can speak the
language. the spread of english can only grow. I work for a UK company owned
by a large French company. When I look at the french jobs web site, which is
in french
every technical/managerial job mandates a good working standard in english.



Howard
2007-06-09 03:26:46 EST
On Fri, 08 Jun 2007 20:58:32 +0100, Ian Smith
<*e@btinternet.naespam.com> wrote:

>On Fri, 08 Jun 2007 18:27:09 +0100, Albert Einstein wrote:
>
>> Time we all supported our schools, teachers, & stood up for our children?
>>
>> A sorry tale of where we went wrong, when the world started going
>> backwards with modern ideas!
>>
>> Dumbing down is wrong and dangerous!
>>
>> vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv
>>
>> A physics teacher begs for his subject back: An open letter to AQA and The
>> Department of Education
>>
>> http://tinyurl.com/2xlj26
>>
>> http://www.wellingtongrey.net/
>>
>>
>> I am a physics teacher. Or, at least I used to be. My subject is still
>> called physics. My pupils will sit an exam and earn a GCSE in physics, but
>> that exam doesn’t cover anything I recognize as physics. Over the past
>> year the UK Department for Education http://www.dfes.gov.uk/
>> and the AQA board http://www.aqa.org.uk/ changed the subject. They
>> took the physics out of physics and replaced it with… something else,
>> something nebulous and ill defined. I worry about this change. I worry
>> about my pupils, I worry about the state of science education in this
>> country, and I worry about the future physics teachers — if there will be
>> any.
>>
>> I graduated from a prestigious university with a degree in physics and
>> pursued a lucrative career in economics which I eventually abandoned to
>> teach. Economics and business, though vastly easier than my subject, and
>> more financially rewarding, bored me. I went into teaching to return to
>> the world of science and to, in what extent I could, convey to pupils why
>> one would love a subject so difficult.
>>
>> For a time I did. For a time, I was happy.
>>
>> But this past academic year things changed. The Department for Education
>> and the AQA board brought in a new syllabus for the sciences. One which
>> greatly increased the teaching of `how science works.’ While my
>> colleagues expressed scepticism, I was hopeful. After all, most pupils
>> will not follow science at a higher level, so we should at least impart
>> them with a sense of what it can tell us about our universe.
>>
>> That did not happen
>>
>> The result is a fiasco that will destroy physics in England.
>>
>> The thing that attracts pupils to physics is its precision. Here, at last,
>> is a discipline that gives real answers that apply to the physical world.
>> But that precision is now gone. Calculations — the very soul of physics
>> — are absent from the new GCSE. Physics is a subject unpolluted by a
>> torrent of malleable words, but now everything must be described in words.
>>
>> In this course, pupils debate topics like global warming and nuclear
>> power. Debate drives science, but pupils do not learn meaningful
>> information about the topics they debate. Scientific argument is based on
>> quantifiable evidence. The person with the better evidence, not the better
>> rhetoric or talking points, wins. But my pupils now discuss the benefits
>> and drawbacks of nuclear power plants, without any real understanding of
>> how they work or what radiation is.
>>
>> I want to teach my subject, to pass on my love of physics to those few who
>> would appreciate it. But I can’t. There is nothing to love in the new
>> course. I see no reason that anyone taking this new GCSE would want to
>> pursue the subject. This is the death of physics.
>>
>> Specific Complaints:
>> My complaints about the new syllabus fall into four categories: the vague,
>> the stupid, the political, and the non-science.
>>
>> The Vague:
>> The specification provided by the AQA (available at their website) is
>> http://aqa.org.uk/qual/pdf/AQA-4462-W-SP-08.PDF vaguely worded. Every
>> section starts with either phrase ‘to evaluate the possible hazards and
>> uses of…’ or ‘to compare the advantages and disadvantages of…’
>> without listing exactly what hazards, uses, advantages or disadvantages
>> the board actually requires pupils to learn. The amount of knowledge on
>> any given topic, such as the electromagnetic spectrum, could fill an
>> entire year at the university level. But no guidance is given to teachers
>> and, as a result, the exam blindsides pupils with questions like:
>>
>> Suggest why he [a dark skinned person] can sunbathe with less risk of
>> getting skin cancer than a fair skinned person.
>>
>> To get the mark, pupils must answer:
>>
>> More UV absorbed by dark skin (more melanin) Less UV penetrates deep to
>> damage living cells / tissue Nowhere does the specification mention the
>> words sunscreen or melanin. It doesn’t say pupils need to know the
>> difference between surface dead skin and deeper living tissue. There is no
>> reason any physics teacher would cover such material, or why any pupil
>> should expect to be tested on it.
>>
>> The Stupid:
>> On topics that are covered by the specification, the exam board has
>> answers that indicate a lack of knowledge on the writer’s part. One
>> questions asks `why would radio stations broadcast digital signals rather
>> than analogue signals?’ An acceptable answer is:
>>
>> Can be processed by computer / ipod [sic] Aside from the stupidity of the
>> answer, (iPods, at the time of this writing, don’t have radio turners and
>> computers can process analogue signals) writing the mark scheme in this
>> way is thoughtless, as teachers can only give marks that exactly match its
>> language. So does the pupil get the mark if they mention any other mp3
>> player? Technically, no. Wikipedia
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Digital_audio_players
>> currently lists 63 different players. Is it safe to assume that the
>> examiner will be familiar with all of them? Doubtful.
>>
>> If the question is not poorly worded, or not covered in the specification,
>> it will be insultingly easy. The first question on a sample paper started:
>>
>> A newspaper article has the heading: ‘Are mobiles putting our children at
>> risk?’ A recent report said that children under the age of nine should
>> not use mobile phones…
>>
>> The first question on the paper was:
>>
>> Below which age is it recommended that children use a mobile phone in
>> emergencies only?
>>
>> This is the kind of reading comprehension question I would expect in a
>> primary school English lesson, not a secondary school GCSE.
>>
>> The Political:
>> The number of questions that relate to global warming is appalling. I do
>> not deny that pupils should know about the topic, nor do I deny its
>> importance. However, it should not be the main focus of every topic. The
>> pupils (and their teachers) are growing apathetic from overexposure.
>>
>> A paper question asked: `Why must we develop renewable energy sources.’
>> This is a political question. Worse yet, a political statement. I’m not
>> saying I disagree with it, just that it has no place on a physics GCSE
>> paper.
>>
>> Pupils are taught to poke holes in scientific experiments, to constantly
>> find what is wrong. However, never are the pupils given ways to determine
>> when an experiment is reliable, to know when an experiment yields
>> information about the world that we can trust. This encourages the belief
>> that all quantitative data is unreliable and untrustworthy. Some of my
>> pupils, after a year of the course, have gone from scientifically minded
>> individuals to thinking, “It’s not possible to know anything, so why
>> bother?” Combining distrust of scientific evidence with debates won on
>> style and presentation alone is an unnerving trend that will lead society
>> astray.
>>
>> The Non-scientific:
>> Lastly, I present the final question on the January physics exam in its
>> entirety:
>>
>> Electricity can also be generated using renewable energy sources. Look at
>> this information from a newspaper report.
>>
>> The energy from burning bio-fuels, such a woodchip and straw, can be used
>> to generate electricity.
>> Plants for bio-fuels use up carbon dioxide as they grow. Farmers get
>> grants to grow plants for bio-fuels. Electricity generated from bio-fuels
>> can be sold at a higher price than electricity generated from burning
>> fossil fuels. Growing plants for bio-fuels offers new opportunities for
>> rural communities. Suggest why, apart from the declining reserves of
>> fossil fuels, power companies should use more bio-fuels and less fossil
>> fuels to generate electricity.
>> The only marks that a pupil can get are for saying:
>>
>> Overall add no carbon dioxide to the environment Power companies make more
>> profit
>> Opportunity to grew new type of crop (growing plants in swamps) More Jobs
>> None of this material is in the specification, nor can a pupil reliably
>> deduce the answers from the given information. Physics isn’t a pedestrian
>> subject about power companies and increasing their profits, or jobs in a
>> rural community, it’s is about far grander and broader ideas.
>> http://www.powersof10.com/
>>
>> Conclusion:
>> My pupils complained that the exam did not test the material they were
>> given to study, and they are largely correct. The information tested was
>> not in the specification given to the teachers, nor in the approved
>> resources suggested by the AQA board. When I asked AQA about the issues
>> with their exam they told me to write a letter of complaint, and this I
>> have done. But, rather than mail it to AQA to sit ignored on a desk, I am
>> making it public in the hope that more attention can be brought to this
>> problem.
>>
>> There is a teacher shortage in this country, but if a physicist asked my
>> advice on becoming a teacher, I would have to say: don’t. Don’t unless
>> you want to watch a subject you love dismantled.
>>
>> I am a young and once-enthusiastic physics teacher. I despair at what I am
>> forced to teach. I have potentially thirty years of lessons to give, but I
>> didn’t sign up for this — and the business world still calls. There I
>> won’t have to endure the pain of trying to animate a crippled subject.
>> The rigorous of physics been torn down and replaced with impotent science
>> media studies.
>>
>> I beg of the government and the AQA board, please, give me back my subject
>> and let me do my job.
>>
>> Sincerely,
>>
>> Wellington Grey
>>
>> http://www.WellingtonGrey.net/
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> Please help spread the word and vote for this story on digg.
>
>If all of this is true, then it is a damning indictment of the education
>system. When we replace the teaching of science with political
>ideology, our future as a significant economy is screwed.

I guess it already is in the UK. I wonder if the USA has suffered the
same dumbing down?




Jim Webster
2007-06-09 08:41:34 EST
On Sat, 09 Jun 2007 11:47:15 GMT, Jim Ford
<*d@watford53.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:

>Jim Webster wrote:
>> On Fri, 08 Jun 2007 21:54:09 GMT, Jim Ford
>> <jaford@watford53.freeserve.co.uk> wrote:
>>
>>>>> I beg of the government and the AQA board, please, give me back my subject
>>>>> and let me do my job.
>>> Forget AQA (and 'Edexcrable' for that matter) - they're part of the problem!
>>>
>>> I've come from Quality Control in the Aerospace Industry into the
>>> Physics Department of a Secondary School as a Technician, and am
>>> appalled at the amateurish standard of the 'A' and 'AS' examination
>>> documentation. Each year at examination time I don't know whether to
>>> laugh of cry when I see the Confidential Instructions. I usually end up
>>> laughing when I visualise some clown with his dinner on his lap,
>>> watching Eastenders whilst he writes the documentation - it bears all
>>> the hallmarks of being as casual and sloppy as that.
>>>
>>> Fortunately I'm not directly involved with the papers themselves, but
>>> each year note the teaching staff's dismay and exasperation when they
>>> inevitably receive errata slips a few days before the examination.
>>>
>>> As there's no 'practical' input to the GCSEs, I don't get to see any of
>>> the examination documentation, but I feel confident that as they're set
>>> by the same bunch of incompetents, they'd be at least as bad - if not worse.
>>>
>>> I feel sorry for the students - it's their future the examination boards
>>> are treating is such a cavalier fashion.
>>>
>>> Oh - and I've not even begun to discuss the standard of text books!
>>>
>>> Jim Ford
>>
>> Do you not have some form of official complaints procedure (anonymous)
>> within education system?
>
>As a Technician (albeit with 30+ years prior experience in Aerospace
>Quality Control), I'm at the bottom of the food chain in Education, and
>my opinion doesn't count! I also feel that as an outsider, I'm more
>aware of the 'heat and stink of the kitchen', than the teaching staff
>who have been immersed in it for so long that they scarcely notice.
>
>I'll give you an example of the sort of people that have major influence
>in Physics Education (I have supporting correspondence relating to this
>'case'):
>
>When I pointed out to a popular (and therefore influential) author of a
>GCSE textbook, that the colours of domestic wiring stated and shown in
>his book were plain wrong, he admitted it but stated that 'we rely on
>the students to find out the correct way later on' (whilst not verbatim,
>this is pretty near - I'm at home and don't have the document to hand).
>To my mind this is totally irresponsible and dangerous. It also beggars
>belief that the author was so sang froid, gung ho or what-you-will about
>his attitude that he was prepared to put it into print, being scarcely
>aware of what he was actually saying! I've carefully kept all my
>correspondence relating to this, because I feel I could yet end up as a
>witness in a coroner's court!
>
>BTW, if you have any influence in Physics Education, feel free to quote
>me or pass my email address to 'those that matter'. Also, I'm quite
>confident that I'm able to defend what I say, and have no worries
>regarding anonymity.

I have no influence anywhere I'm afraid, or we wouldn't have these
sort of situation, it's ludicrous.

Maybe you should let the person the original poster referred to,
Wellington Grey, at http://tinyurl.com/ynm6l9 there seems to be quite
a good discussion on the subject, and he is clearly not alone in his
disappointment.



Old Codger
2007-06-09 13:02:38 EST
buddenbrooks wrote:
> "Old Codger" <oldcodger@anyoldwhere.net> wrote in message
> news:4669c4c7$0$27857$db0fefd9@news.zen.co.uk...
> Only the City now enables us to be a significant
>> economy and that activity can be carried out anywhere in the world. Taken
>> together with the continual attempts to take over the LSE and it is only a
>> matter of time before we cease to have any influence.
>>
>>
>
> Most economic activity can be done anywhere in the world. I suspect that
> major economic centres will be where the directors
> want to live at the time. Countries will not be able to bribe because the
> companies are such cash engines they can dictate terms from any country.
>
> The UK does have a number of advantages, as a relatively pleasant and
> crime fre country with good infrastructure and connection to the world. Also
> this level of company migration works best where the directors can speak the
> language. the spread of english can only grow. I work for a UK company owned
> by a large French company. When I look at the french jobs web site, which is
> in french
> every technical/managerial job mandates a good working standard in english.

Wish I could share your optimism.


--
Old Codger
e-mail use reply to field

What matters in politics is not what happens, but what you can make
people believe has happened. [Janet Daley 27/8/2003]

Abelard
2007-06-13 16:17:09 EST
On Fri, 08 Jun 2007 18:27:09 +0100, Albert Einstein <Ein@Stein.com>
wrote:

>Time we all supported our schools, teachers, & stood up for our
>children?

i scanned through this a few days ago and recognised it as
the 'utter tripe' category....
so left it.....
expecting no informed person to take it seriously......
i see our serious posters have duly canned it....

but i have been dismayed to see it surfacing in rantsville as if it
has content

so i'll do sommat not yet covered....

time to go into deconstruction mode!!

>I am a physics teacher.

and imv totally incompetent in that role....

>Or, at least I used to be.

wise of you to leave...

>My subject is still
>called physics.

oh you didn't..shame...

>I graduated from a prestigious university with a degree in physics and
>pursued a lucrative career in economics which I eventually abandoned
>to teach. Economics and business, though vastly easier than my
>subject, and more financially rewarding, bored me. I went into
>teaching to return to the world of science and to, in what extent I
>could, convey to pupils why one would love a subject so difficult.

doubtless you'll now bore the pupils....if your were indeed genuine...
however, i cannot believe a person educated to teach in the modern
world could be so very far behind the curve...

>That did not happen
>
>The result is a fiasco that will destroy physics in England.

yeah yeah...

>The thing that attracts pupils to physics is its precision.

then you don't know the meaning of 'precision'.....
*all measurement is approximate

> Here, at
>last, is a discipline that gives real answers

no it doesn't...that is religion

> that apply to the
>physical world. But that precision is now gone. Calculations — the
>very soul of physics — are absent from the new GCSE. Physics is a
>subject unpolluted by a torrent of malleable words, but now everything
>must be described in words.

maths is also malleable...
the words of maths are malleable...
the symbols of maths are malleable....

>In this course, pupils debate topics like global warming and nuclear
>power.

some of the very most important areas for a modern person to be able
to approach...
and this is gcse level...

not a physics or maths degree

>Debate drives science, but pupils do not learn meaningful
>information about the topics they debate. Scientific argument is based
>on quantifiable evidence. The person with the better evidence, not the
>better rhetoric or talking points, wins.

science progresses via discussion....
that inevitably includes 'rhetoric' and 'points'

> But my pupils now discuss the
>benefits and drawbacks of nuclear power plants, without any real
>understanding of how they work or what radiation is.

how on earth do you suppose they learn to understand but by
steadily refining their ability to discuss....
under the guidance of an *able* teacher

>I want to teach my subject, to pass on my love of physics to those few
>who would appreciate it. But I can’t. There is nothing to love in the
>new course. I see no reason that anyone taking this new GCSE would
>want to pursue the subject. This is the death of physics.

nah, you want 'real answers'....you already said that

>Specific Complaints:

at last

>My complaints about the new syllabus fall into four categories: the
>vague, the stupid, the political, and the non-science.

what well and precisely defined categories you do set up!!

>The Vague:
>The specification provided by the AQA (available at their website)
>is http://aqa.org.uk/qual/pdf/AQA-4462-W-SP-08.PDF vaguely worded.
>Every section starts with either phrase ‘to evaluate the possible
>hazards and uses of…’ or ‘to compare the advantages and disadvantages
>of…’ without listing exactly what hazards, uses, advantages or
>disadvantages the board actually requires pupils to learn. The amount
>of knowledge on any given topic, such as the electromagnetic spectrum,
>could fill an entire year at the university level. But no guidance is
>given to teachers and, as a result, the exam blindsides pupils with
>questions like:

oh, you want your little hand help...that figures..

>Suggest why he [a dark skinned person] can sunbathe with less risk of
>getting skin cancer than a fair skinned person.

>To get the mark, pupils must answer:
>
>More UV absorbed by dark skin (more melanin)
>Less UV penetrates deep to damage living cells / tissue
>Nowhere does the specification mention the words sunscreen or melanin.
>It doesn’t say pupils need to know the difference between surface dead
>skin and deeper living tissue. There is no reason any physics teacher
>would cover such material, or why any pupil should expect to be tested
>on it.

so what...
the purpose of any reasonable exam is to test the grasp of the subject

that means asking the unexpected.....

the quality of an 'answer' to any such wide question can indicate
how far the candidate has probed....or been taught!!

>The Stupid:
>On topics that are covered by the specification, the exam board has
>answers that indicate a lack of knowledge on the writer’s part. One
>questions asks `why would radio stations broadcast digital signals
>rather than analogue signals?’ An acceptable answer is:
>
>Can be processed by computer / ipod [sic]
>Aside from the stupidity of the answer, (iPods, at the time of this
>writing, don’t have radio turners and computers can process analogue
>signals) writing the mark scheme in this way is thoughtless, as
>teachers can only give marks that exactly match its language. So does
>the pupil get the mark if they mention any other mp3 player?
>Technically, no. Wikipedia
>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Digital_audio_players
> currently lists 63 different players. Is it safe to assume that the
>examiner will be familiar with all of them? Doubtful.

how dreadful....

>If the question is not poorly worded, or not covered in the
>specification, it will be insultingly easy. The first question on a
>sample paper started:

you just don't get modern education, in place of parroted 'answers'

>A newspaper article has the heading: ‘Are mobiles putting our children
>at risk?’ A recent report said that children under the age of nine
>should not use mobile phones…
>
>The first question on the paper was:
>
>Below which age is it recommended that children use a mobile phone in
>emergencies only?
>
>This is the kind of reading comprehension question I would expect in a
>primary school English lesson, not a secondary school GCSE.

so, you don't want scientists who can read for comprehension?

your attitude is typical of those who used to divide human knowledge
into 'subjects'....
sane modern education is about a rounded understanding....

>The Political:
>The number of questions that relate to global warming is appalling. I
>do not deny that pupils should know about the topic, nor do I deny its
>importance. However, it should not be the main focus of every topic.
>The pupils (and their teachers) are growing apathetic from
>overexposure.

don't be daffy..the young are teaching and pestering their parents to
greater ecological awareness

>A paper question asked: `Why must we develop renewable energy
>sources.’ This is a political question. Worse yet, a political
>statement. I’m not saying I disagree with it, just that it has no
>place on a physics GCSE paper.

society is political...humans are political animals as aristotle
realised...
about time you caught on...

the decisions are political...
the students are expected to become thoughtful and informed citizens

that is not achieved by separating knowledge into simplified easy
'right' and 'wrong' 'answers'

>Pupils are taught to poke holes in scientific experiments, to
>constantly find what is wrong. However, never are the pupils given
>ways to determine when an experiment is reliable, to know when an
>experiment yields information about the world that we can trust. This
>encourages the belief that all quantitative data is unreliable and
>untrustworthy. Some of my pupils, after a year of the course, have
>gone from scientifically minded individuals to thinking, “It’s not
>possible to know anything, so why bother?” Combining distrust of
>scientific evidence with debates won on style and presentation alone
>is an unnerving trend that will lead society astray.

then you are teaching incompetently...why am i not surprised at that..
learn some stats...and learn to teach it....

>The Non-scientific:
>Lastly, I present the final question on the January physics exam in
>its entirety:
>
>Electricity can also be generated using renewable energy sources. Look
>at this information from a newspaper report.
>
>The energy from burning bio-fuels, such a woodchip and straw, can be
>used to generate electricity.
>Plants for bio-fuels use up carbon dioxide as they grow.
>Farmers get grants to grow plants for bio-fuels.
>Electricity generated from bio-fuels can be sold at a higher price
>than electricity generated from burning fossil fuels.
>Growing plants for bio-fuels offers new opportunities for rural
>communities. Suggest why, apart from the declining reserves of fossil
>fuels, power companies should use more bio-fuels and less fossil fuels
>to generate electricity.
>The only marks that a pupil can get are for saying:
>
>Overall add no carbon dioxide to the environment
>Power companies make more profit
>Opportunity to grew new type of crop (growing plants in swamps)
>More Jobs
>None of this material is in the specification, nor can a pupil

you're supposed to be teaching about global warming dummy....

>reliably deduce the answers from the given information. Physics isn’t
>a pedestrian subject about power companies and increasing their
>profits, or jobs in a rural community, it’s is about far grander and
>broader ideas.
> http://www.powersof10.com/

don't be ridiculous...
it is vital pupils understand the politics and economics of decisions
to made by them and their representatives!!
it is vital they learn to discuss these problems...

it is about power companies...it is about how power companies
make decisions...those decisions are political and economic....
they are also about lobbying and rhetoric as they attempt to
maximise profits against the interests of citizens....
it is about politicians and their rhetoric/spin....and the sinecures
they are offered by businesses to promote their interests...
it is about the pressures on physicist working for grants or
oil companies and being pressures to spin their 'results'

you don't live in the real world...

fortunately, it seems that increasingly the examiners do

>Conclusion:
>My pupils complained that the exam did not test the material they were
>given to study, and they are largely correct. The information tested
>was not in the specification given to the teachers,

you're supposed to keep ahead of 15 year old pupils who
are also studying for 10 other first level exams...

> nor in the
>approved resources suggested by the AQA board. When I asked AQA about
>the issues with their exam they told me to write a letter of
>complaint, and this I have done. But, rather than mail it to AQA to
>sit ignored on a desk, I am making it public in the hope that more
>attention can be brought to this problem.

the biggest problem to which you are bringing attention is your own
naivete and lack of relevant training as a teacher

>There is a teacher shortage in this country, but if a physicist asked
>my advice on becoming a teacher, I would have to say: don’t. Don’t
>unless you want to watch a subject you love dismantled.

and doubtless, like me, they would make some assessment of
your ability

and then not take much notice of your 'advice'

>I am a young and once-enthusiastic physics teacher.

you sound like you're an old man...

> I despair at what
>I am forced to teach.

no-one is 'forcing'...you can go get another job....

yet you use language so very sloppily...
yet whinge about the alleged 'precision' of 'physics'

> I have potentially thirty years of lessons to
>give, but I didn’t sign up for this — and the business world still
>calls. There I won’t have to endure the pain of trying to animate a
>crippled subject. The rigorous of physics been torn down and replaced
>with impotent science media studies.

neither will pupils have to tolerate your narrow world view....
so, it's gain all around

>I beg of the government and the AQA board, please, give me back my
>subject and let me do my job.

'your' subject....so you also own physics...
give us a break....

>Sincerely,

i'm so glad you're sincere....sincere is good!

>Wellington Grey
>
>http://www.WellingtonGrey.net/

>Please help spread the word and vote for this story on digg.

--
web site at www.abelard.org - news comment service, logic, economics
energy, education, politics, etc 1,552,396 document calls in year past
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all that is necessary for [] walk quietly and carry
the triumph of evil is that [] a big stick.
good people do nothing [] trust actions not words
only when it's funny -- roger rabbit
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