Today: The Education of Science.

10 Sep

Sitting at second tea break, normally i am there dead on time. Leaving before the mass of academics converge on the tea room, indulging in in depth conversations. Usually involving Cricket, Where they have been on holiday and Golf.

Today however i was late due to reasons beyond my control (I lie. i just forgot the time) so i was surrounded by these people, all alot cleverer than i could every really be, all having about 4 conversations at once.

One conversation caught my attention however, one being held between 2 professors all about the correlation between A-level results and degree outcomes.

I’m always a little defensive when it comes to A-level’s, having not done very well (CDD) I had to do a preliminary year to guarentee myself a position at Cardiff University, doing alot better than what i had acheived in my A-levels.

However they turned not on the students in this case, but on the teaching standards that you receive. I was relieved and intrigued to hear what they were saying about how teachers make things seem too easy for the pupils. Effectively enabling them to fail when they don’t put effort in (for those of us lacking that genius gene), or denying those who are super genius’ from the challenge they deserve.

It took me back to ALL of my A-levels and how they were taught.

I went to Waingels Copse School in Woodley, Reading (Now called Waingels College…), for A-level i did Physics, Maths and Chemistry. Pretty much the hardest lot you could do, I was only ever really good and had fun in my science classes so it was an easy choice for me going into year 12 (where i also took Geography… I am still not sure why).

At the end of year 12, I had an E in physics, 2 marks INTO an E,  and D’s in everything else. I chose to drop Geography, and re-sat my As Physics and A-level Physice all in 1 year, bumping my final grade up to a C. The problem my school hit with this? My head teacher didn’t want to grant my head of physics permission to hire another physics teacher (there were 2 dedicated and one complete idiot who admitted that he hated teaching Physics). So he left… Half way through my final year. Causing my favourite Physics teacher Mr Jon Clarke to have to cover The department heads classes, and teach an A-level class. Needless to say the A2 class had dropped a lesson a week, and the As had the same. Leaving me 2 lessons down, and wanting to study Physics at Uni. Panic E-mail to the admission tutor cleared that issue up. Thankfully.

Next Issue came when January results came out. The people who took double maths (top set GCSE sat the full A-level in a year after doing their GCSE a year early) pretty much failed and dropped down into my class. So my class went from having 5 people in, to 25. It became a revision lecture for them, and i failed to get taught pretty much anything, no matter how much i asked, how much i complained to the teacher. It was not the students who dropped down to my classes fault, but my teacher for failing those of use who needed to be taught in the first place.

Chemistry was a bundle of laughs. Nothing went really wrong, just nothing went really right either. The teachers made us  try and see chemistry as an easy thing. So apart from my full marks in my practical examination, I learnt nothing.

It’s good to see that the lecturers see that A-level results are a result of teaching practices and not a students bone idle-ness when it comes to university. I tried very hard at my A-levels. In the end my hard work has paid off and i am currently averaging a 2:1, I have been taught well!

On a side note: If anybody reading this knows Mr Jon Clarke, or at least where he is, I would really like toget back in contact with him, as thankfully he has left Waingels and moved on. I want to thank him for keeping everything real. Being honest with me about my results, and to show him how far i have come. I did Physics and Astronomy because of his inspiration, I think shaking his hand is necessary.


One Response to “Today: The Education of Science.”


  1. Tweets that mention Today: The Education of Science. « I Did That -- - 10/09/2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Harriet Parfitt, Harriet Parfitt. Harriet Parfitt said: Today: The Education of Science: #teaching #science #education […]

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