I want to re-inspire teachers’ love of physics
Lisa Jardine-Wright is the IOP’s new Vice President for Education. She has worked with teachers throughout her career and is director and co-founder of Isaac Physics, which offers free online support and resources to teachers and students.
What are the challenges of teaching physics today?
League tables. Needing to teach to the exam. The societal expectation you either can or can’t do maths or physics: it’s not true! You need time to make mistakes and practise and, if you do, you get better - it is the same as for gymnastics, languages, music or football.
As a CPD specialist, what one thing can teachers do to improve their classroom?
Create an environment in which students see mistakes as a positive part of their learning experiences – an environment that rewards perseverance. A mistake isn’t a negative thing, it’s a learning opportunity.
How can the IOP further support teachers?
Enable teachers to be allocated time to re-inspire their love of physics and do subject specific CPD; enable them to take students out of the classroom; and increase collaboration between maths and physics departments.
What impact will the IOP’s Limit Less campaign have on physics in schools?
Physics needs a diverse community to solve current world problems. We all (families, teachers, friends) need to be aware that we can unintentionally introduce bias when trying to be supportive with comments like, “Don’t worry, physics is really hard” or “I don’t like maths either”. From nursery and primary school all the way through education we must avoid imposing preconceptions or limiting what students can achieve.
What is your favourite demo?
The disappearing test tube: put an empty test tube in a beaker of olive oil, fill the test tube with olive oil and watch it disappear. It’s super quick, the kit is easy to get, you can use it to explain refraction and you always get a “wow” from your audience.