A companion for trainees

4th edition
Rob Toplis (editor)
2015 | 314 pp | £26.99 (PB)
ISBN 9780415826433

Learning to teach science in the secondary school

This book is a companion guide for recent entrants to the profession, and initially deals with topics such as becoming a science teacher, working in a school science department and developing professional learning. Subsequent chapters look at the science curriculum in more detail, offering useful strategies for teaching specific topics and a more holistic view of science teaching in a wider context. As teachers are increasingly being assessed by the degree of progress students are making over time, it is nice to see a chapter discussing strategies on how to plan for progression.

The book is user friendly and written in an understandable and jargon-free way by current and experienced practitioners. It maintains its accessibility throughout in a refreshingly non-condescending manner. In keeping with good practice, each chapter starts with a series of objectives and many include a number of tasks to help develop the skills needed to be a reflective and critical teacher. The references and ideas for further reading are recent and relevant, and would be a good starting point for trainee teachers to further engage with the topics discussed. Some chapters might be more relevant than others depending upon the individual and stage of training, but many are thought-provoking to new and experienced teachers alike. As with many books related to professional practice, I recommend that new entrants to the profession look at other books alongside this one, but I imagine it will support and answer many of their questions. The chapters on becoming a science teacher will be extremely useful to a trainee.

Personally, I found the chapter relating to educational research particularly useful and relevant for both myself and my student teachers. As initial teacher education continues to be in a state of flux in these uncertain and changing times, it would be great to further develop a new generation of teachers who believe that research and scholarship are central to being a professional and informed practitioner.

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