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    • #60189
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      One of the PNCs has said about the cost of workshops being an issue, not the cost of running the workshop but the cost of the teacher implementing the idea back in the classroom. A comparison was made between rocket launchers and cloud chambers. The former costs next to nothing when you get it back to school, the latter needs the expense of the dry ice. This has cropped up in discussions before but we’ve never formally written it down.

      Do you consider costs when you plan a workshop?

      What other factors do you consider that are to do with the teachers getting something they can implement when they get back to the lab?


    • #60211
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      Yes. If teachers cannot implement easily due to cost or other factors then this diminishes the effectiveness and impact of any CLPL.

    • #60212
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      I do a lot of construction workshops for e.g GCSE electrical components; RC decay, Plancks constant. The emphasis is on producing something that is easy for students to use so that they have a good result rather than fumbling around on the floor for dropped components – not listening while they are doing so , and generally becoming unruly. With RC circuits it overcomes the problem of moving crocodile clips quickly etc.

      The boxes used were ABS but I recently changed to craft boxes as the “other half” couldn’t help me drill the boxes, and whirling plastic is lethal. You can clamp it more heavily but if it has a mind to grab then the outcome would be broken whirling drill bits. Oddly enough I think the craft boxes were better accepted as teachers thought they could produce their own more easily.

      The cost is low  and schools could afford to easily produce class sets. One particular set of kit compared to a commercial one cost about 1/100th , so I think teachers appreciated this.

      The emphasis is then on the results which are easily obtained and discussion of what they show. I provided worksheets which teachers could use and adapt. Also “exercises” for students to do. Teachers were coming up with their own ideas too.

      So effective; easy to reproduce and adapt; cheap to implement.

    • #60214
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      Other factors to consider:

      • to what extent will the teacher use the make and take kit at school?
      • will the teachers share their new knowledge of the resource with the rest of the staff effectively so that others can use it too?
    • #60225
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      Do you also consider the range of use of an idea or resource in the classroom? For instance, whether it will be just used with one year group for one topic, or several years groups for a number of topics? Or does it not matter because it’s like a jigsaw – you need all the pieces…?

    • #60228
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      Depends on resource/idea.  And I also think of science club use.

    • #60229
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      Tried to make the GCSE electricity boxes mult-purpose by having them capable of doing I-R characteristics of components + series and parallel circuits.

      Others  such as Plancks constant are for a specific task at A level – but they are more accurate than the valve experiment which was a dem only and not really fit for purpose with a large A level group (I had 20+)

    • #60230
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      Do you look at how closely a resource or idea in a workshop relates to specifications?

    • #60232
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      If asked in advance for SPN workshops.  Not so sure about PNC ones, although do try to link to GCSE if a PGCE group.

    • #60233
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      In England and Wales we can’t guarantee that teachers will be following the same specification. This isn’t a problem in Scotland. Would it be better if we tied workshops to specifications more closely?

    • #60235
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      How can you know which one if it is a workshop at a day conference? You can if it is a department in a school.

    • #60237
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      You could just pick one, advertise it as is, and then hope people doing that spec turn up. It would be reducing the choice a bit though for those that don’t do that spec. Are day meeting workshops generally more generic than ones in a twilights or specific school session?

    • #60238
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      Evening all

      I do try and keep a knowledge of specifications and point out to the attendees if something is good for a particular exam board. This is particular apparent for things like the required practicals. I have found areas sometimes follow a particular board. Here around Preston nearly everyone is AQA.

    • #60239
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      Yes there is a difference between doing a sessionon required practical s and a generic one on, say, forces.

    • #60240
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      Do schools in MATs tend to follow the same exam board?

    • #60241
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      That is what I have seen and it makes sense to aid collaboration.

    • #60242
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      Have no experience with MATs.

    • #60243
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      There cannot be too much physic that is only on one exam boards specification and not the others.

    • #60244
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      Do you ever give out worksheets or powerpoints that could be used immediately by a teacher?

    • #60245
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      No but ‘language’ and emphasis can be different.

    • #60246
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      Could we use the common core for exam specs when planning workshops? Or is that just added fuss?

    • #60247
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      Or limitation? Are we trying to ‘teach to an exam’ or ‘deepen understanding’?


    • #60251
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      I have worksheets for magnetism workshop and have handed out worksheets for Issac Physics

      The only exam board specific workshop I have run apart from required pracs is a run a Turning Points AQA A level Physics Workshop.

      Attendees will identify useful physics ideas for their exam boards and share in the discussions.

    • #60253
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      Is it a balancing act? We don’t want to be over-run by non-physics background folk turning up and devouring resources unthinkingly and using them blindly, but then we do want to give support. We also want to try and get teachers thinking about what they do but we don’t want it to get too abstract…?

    • #60258
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      I think there is a difference between the ‘general’ work of the PNC network and the much more focused SPN coach work.

    • #60260
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      How much direct implementation is there with SPN coaches?


    • #60262
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      Direct implementation?

    • #60263
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      Usually an agreed series (one a half-term) in each school.

    • #60264
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      How much stuff do the teachers get that is ready to go in the classroom? Or do they have to think through things and process before they plan a lesson, create a resource etc?

    • #60265
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      For a few years now I have gone to a few day events as an attendee, Charter House, Welsh Physics Teachers Conference…
      It has been so useful. One of the things I see is how much the attendees gain from the dialogue between each other and the presenter, it really does get teachers thinking. This is why videos will never fully replace live CPD. Every time I deliver my magnetism workshop I learn something invaluable from the attendees. Teachers do want to take away resources and I think it would be hard to make a resource that was exclusive to one exam board.

    • #60266
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      Depends on the group even within a school.  Needs of a mathematician and PE conscripts are different from an established department.

    • #60268
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      Thank you all very much. I’m off for my tea now.

    • #60270
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      What an excellent idea, think I will have another dinner

    • #60312
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      One hierarchy of CPD is:

      • Presentation of theory or description of skill or strategy
      • Modelling or demonstration of skills or models of teaching
      • Practice in simulated and classroom setting
      • Structured and open-ended feedback (provision of information about performance)
      • Coaching for application (hands-on, in-classroom assistance with the transfer of skills and strategies to the classroom)”

      I think that with day meetings we’re very much at the bottom end of that. I don’t think that’s a problem because we have a low impact on a lot of teachers. But other authors have suggested that:

      “Networking with other professionals is what the literature recommends as PD at its highest level.” (PD is professional development)

      But that’s also us.

      And other than being there in the classroom to help, I wonder what networking wouldn’t involve some sort of knowledge transfer or swapping of resources and ideas?

      I wonder if this hierarchy is only fitting for a certain perspective?

    • #60320
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      Some (probably simplistic) reflections on the networking point you raise.

      There is a community/support aspect to this, a physics teacher may feel that they are not isolated or without others who are facing the same challenges. They feel part of a community of like-minded professionals with similar values. This can validate them and make them feel better about themselves. [Motivational educationalists might call this ‘relatedness’ as one of the three aspects noted in self-determination theory, things we all need to flourish personally and professionally]. This is important and should be considered in any CPD to avoid the transmission, expert tells you what to do model that can end up with a rather superficial professional experience.

      Whether you take this view on the ideas from the theory or not, I’d say that it’s not enough. If you want to help someone develop and improved what they do in class, then you need to find a way to get them to scrutinise/reflect and evaluate what they are doing and move beyond the quick win. When you have a short space of time, like a twilight CPD it’s much easier [and realistic] to have a relatively tight focus in subject content and so a ‘this is great do this’ does not seem inherently bad, but not the whole story.

      Dealing with the types of questions you ask, how you manage group discussion, how you build energy as a crosscutting theme into all physics teaching, ways to use models and move from the macro to the micro are all large and complex things that take a lot of time and effort – but ultimately will have a bigger impact on someone’s teaching – but it’s things like coaching that can only really deal with this side of CPD.  In a short CPD it’s probably better to keep the context tight but look for the social interaction stuff to build a community where people can talk/challenge/discuss/argue…

      I’m not saying that you give them a script for the coffee break

      1. Coffee
      2. Cake
      3. Argue about ways in which students conceptualize current
      4. Challenge each other’s assumptions about models)

      But maybe it’s worth a try….  I hear that there are dinner parties that have questions to facilitate conversation. I don’t get invited to these things so don’t know but maybe it might work. Might even give it a go when I next write a session.

    • #60323
      Profile photo of Andrew Normand

      We have wondered off topic a bit as this group was supposed to be the direct implementation group….

      “They feel part of a community of like-minded professionals with similar values.” I think this is part of the advantage of us being subject specific.

      Having a script for lunch has crossed my mind. It’s something we do at PED board meetings – put a talking point agenda item just before lunch. I’d wondered about collecting opinions on matters of importance too. Maybe that might be straight after lunch?



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