Support for Beginning Physics Teachers
In-Service and a Mentor Scheme
Vicphysics Teachers' Network is keen to assist new physics teachers whether they be:
- First Year Outs,
- Teachers taking Year 12 for the first time
- Teachers returning to Physics teaching after many years’ absence, or
- Teachers who have been asked by their school to take physics.
It usually offers two programs:
i) A a full day in-service program in the 1st Term holidays. The event is free and travel support is available for country participants.
In 2015 the program will be held on Tuesday, 31st March at Camberwell Grammar School. You can register for the event by email to the VicPhys with subject “Registration: New Physics Teachers” and include in the email, not only your contact details, but your reason for applying as this will assist in the design of the program. The Vicphysics Teachers' Network encourages applications for this event to also consider attending the Practical Activities Workshops on the day before at the same venue. Check details here.
ii) The Mentor Scheme. Several retired physics teachers have offered their services to support new teachers. The Network will give them a stipend to meet with the teacher once during Terms 2, 3 and 4 and to be available for phone and email contact. Teachers wishing to participate in this scheme should send an expression of interest containing their contact details and a statement of why they want to be involved in the scheme. The expression of interest should be accompanied by a letter of support from the Science Coordinator or the School Principal. The documents should be either posted to the Vicphysics Mentor Scheme, PO Box 290, Flinders Lane, VIC 8009 or emailed as an attachment to VicPhys with subject “Booking: Mentor Scheme”.
Schools are welcome to fund additional support from the mentor.
A PowerPoint presentation on i) the types of physics resources that are available to physics teachers in a range of formats from text to websites and ii) the different styles of practical activities with examples, as well as discussion of the factors to be considered in planning practical investigations.
A full page list of topics for Unit 3 Motion, Unit 4 Electric power and the Materials Detailed Study.
A booklet for students on doing an extended practical investigation for the Motion Area of Study. An extensive list of topics is included, The booklet was prepared by Shane MacLean and Paul Cuthbert while at Kew High School
A Powerpoint presentation by one of the Assistant Chief Assessors, Andrew Hansen from Ringwood Secondary College, on i) the exam and how it is marked, ii) advice for teachers to assist students when doing the exam and iii) common errors that students make.
A table of displaying how the types and descriptions of practical activities in Physics have changed over the last three decades.
The criteria for the EPI from VCAA Physics Assessment Booklet have been arranged in a table format for ease of use. Each row contains related comments on a particular aspect e.g. 'Understanding' from each of the score ranges, e.g. 'Demonstrates an advanced understanding of the investigation' through to 'Demonstrates a limited understanding of ...'. The full text has been broken up, covering the categories of 'understanding', 'hypothesis', 'procedures', 'safety', 'improvements', 'data', 'records', 'presentation', 'estimates', 'analysis', 'communication', 'explanations'.each with a separate row.
A worksheet to categorise and evaluate the types of practical activities that your students experience.
The PowerPoint presentation has examples of exam questions that students have found difficult with suggestions of strategies to overcome these as well as worked solutions using the strategies. Advice is also provided on revising during the semester and before the exam as well as specific exam strategies.
The program for the in-service included a discussion on question such as 'What was your biggest surprise in first teaching physics?' 'What have you enjoyed most in your teaching?', etc. These same questions were used in the 1987 Beginning Physics Teachers In-Service. These are their responses.
A sample course for Units 1 and 2 has been prepared. It includes a possible time allocation for Areas of Study and indeed, for individual dot points, as well as possible activities. The sample course takes the approach of selecting Detailed Studies that relate to the context “Solutions for Climate Change” and finding links to the core Areas of Study.
A week by week teaching program for Year 12 with dates for 2014 and with the content to be covered in each week as well as practical activities. There are different versions depending on which Detailed Study is chosen and in which topic the EPI is done.
'TalkPhysics' is a UK website for physics teachers wishing to discuss teaching approaches, share a newly found resources or just seeking assistance. The responses are numerous and prompt, thought provoking and very helpful. This document is a typical example of such discussions. Teachers are encouraged to join, even if you are not based in the UK. See the link below for details.
'TalkPhysics' is a UK website for physics teachers wishing to discuss teaching approaches, share a newly found resources or just seeking assistance. The responses are numerous and prompt, thought provoking and very helpful. One such question was on advice for beginning teachers. Teachers are encouraged to join, even if you are not based in the UK. See the link below for details.
The document outlines one person's idea of how to introduce the concepts of electricity in Year 11 physics.
This document describes the extensive range of information on students’ misconceptions in science available on the VELS website. A summary of one example is included that of ‘Forces on passengers’.
Conceptual Understanding Procedures (CUPs) for Physics are an initiative of Monash University. They are a set of teaching procedures designed to aid the development of understanding of concepts that students find difficult. Check their website below.
Useful Websites for the Beginning Teacher
Material from the Physics Teachers' Conferences
The following are relevant files from the presentations at recent Physics Teachers' Conferences. They include a presentation by Colin Hopkins and presentstions by the chief assessors that will assist in preparing students for exams. Also check exam solutions and course planning.
Powerpoint by Geoff Davies and Bruce Walsh, chief assessors for Units 3 and 4 resp.
Powerpoint by Bruce Walsh, chief assessor for Units 3 and 4 exam.
A spreadsheet of the grade points for the years 1999- 2014. The grade point is the raw score cut off for a particular grade. The cumulative percentage of candidates is also included alongside the raw score. The table also has the mean and standard deviation for each exam.
by Bruce Walsh, the Chief Assessor.
by Bruce Walsh, the Chief Assessor. Distributed at the 2011 Physics Teachers Conference.
The PowerPoint presentation by Bruce Walsh, the Chief Assessor.
A document of demonstrations by Colin Hopkins, Trafalgar High School and Rob Braidwood, Balwyn High School. Presented at the 2007 Physics Teachers Conference.
Audio of presentation by Colin Hopkins and Rob Braidwood. 60mins.