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Holmes Chapel Comprehensive School

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Physics

"What matters is not what you learn, you can learn the same thing reading a book, but rather it is about seeing a real person talking about it and getting excited. Teaching in my opinion is not an intellectual thing, it’s an emotional thing. If it was an intellectual thing, you could replace teachers with books." These are the words of Italian theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli who, as well as being a world-renowned scientist and author on subjects such as quantum loop gravity, takes time out to teach high school physics. He emphasises the key role that emotions play in teaching well.


Students who are gifted in science, particularly physics are often encouraged to take up careers in engineering but it is rarely suggested that they take up physics education, although this is very rewarding with opportunities for lots of excitement and wonder along with creative problem solving. Teaching physics is not just about writing formulas on the board, you are enabling students to view the world in a different way. You are creating an environment where students will explore the world around them to see how it works and connect abstract scientific ideas to their everyday lives. Possibly the most important lesson for young scientists is that advances in physics often mean accepting that current thinking may turn out to be incorrect.


Teaching physics well requires creativity, thought and an understanding not only of physics, but of psychology, cognition and communication. It is a career for those with the most creative minds who really want to make a difference.