The joy of teaching science

Tom Sherrington
2014 | 228pp | £16.99 (PB)
ISBN 9780415726900

Teach Now

Teach now! is a new series of books written for trainee teachers. The author of this book is an experienced physics teacher. The subtitle The joy of teaching science is very apt, as Tom’s passion for teaching his subject shines out from the pages.

The book addresses the key issues facing any science teacher new to the profession. The nine chapters cover the nature of science, the science curriculum, practical work, differentiation, managing behaviour, modes of teaching and formative assessment. Throughout the book there are useful activities suggested that will help the reader to engage with the ideas discussed.

The chapter about science as a practical subject encourages the reader to consider whether the purpose of including practical work in a particular teaching sequence is to develop conceptual understanding of the science topic or to develop specific experimental skills. This echoes the ideas developed more fully by Robin Millar; it is a pity that neither his book nor the Getting Practical project were referenced.

The chapter about formative assessment references the work of Dylan Wiliam and Paul Black. It makes useful suggestions of ways to give feedback and to ensure that students act on it to ‘close the gap’; there is less about how the teacher may need to adapt their lesson based on the information from formative assessment tasks, for example what to do when the assessment task shows that half the class have grasped an idea but the rest have not.

The final chapter draws on the author’s experience as a headteacher to give useful advice to a trainee teacher applying for their first job. Much of this advice would be useful not just to science specialists, but others applying for posts in schools. 

In spite of some criticisms, I’d recommend this book to those commencing their training as a science teacher. I’m sure that a trainee who used it during their training year would continue to refer to it in their first post as newly qualified teacher.

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