If you are fascinated by studies of time, space, velocity, electricity, there is a high chance that Physics is your favourite Science subject in school.
You could have probably joined several science competitions, science and mathematics society, have fierce debates with your teachers and friends about Newton's Law or the Bernoulli's Principle. You have a good score for your Physics paper and some of your friends even asked you to help them to solve several problems after lessons.
But sometimes, no matter how you try to explain, they still do not seem to get your point. If you are thinking of becoming a Physics tutor, here are some key points that you can read through to equip yourself to teach the subject better.
Will I be a good Physics teacher if I love calculation and Science?
Of course it is crucial that you love and are good at both Mathematics and Science subjects, but a good Physics teacher is more than just having an academic qualification. It takes great skills to clearly explain those "complex", fascinating Physics theories to various groups of people, no matter if they are kids, teenagers or university students.
Having said that, a good Physics teacher should also be a good science communicator!
Science writer, Dr. Dominic Walliman revealed 4 principles to promote effective science communication when you are tutoring Science subjects.
1. Start your lesson or explanation based on your student(s) current understanding of the topic
Don't start a lesson by assuming that your students will understand immediately!
Let's say your new student is currently in Form 5 and is taking Physics tutoring to be prepared for his/her SPM examination. Apart from teaching the Form 5 syllabus, you also need to prepare a comprehensive SPM revision guide (which includes Form 4 chapters) for your lessons.
Before doing that, it would be really useful to ask your student several questions on the previous Form 4 syllabus or do a simple assessment to test what he/she truly knows.
"What do you know about the chapter of Heat in Form 4?"
" Is this concept making sense to you now?"
" Do you need a revision with the previous chapter before I move on to the next chapter?"
This first step is important because sometimes, a Form 5 student may not have mastered his/her Form 4 Physics chapters completely in the previous year. Furthermore, you should take note that certain points or theories that were taught during Form 4 may be repeated or applied during Form 5 for the same topic.
One example is the learning of the topic Force and Motion. This topic is taught during both Form 4 (Force and Motion I) and Form 5 (Force and Motion II). Before starting your lessons on the Force and Motion II chapter, it would be great to do a recap or revision of the Force and Motion I chapter, so that your student can have a better understanding.
2. Don't put everything into the plate when you are teaching/elaborating
Bear in mind that preparing for SPM is similar to preparing for a marathon. You need to have a consistent pace and strength for every lap. In the same way, your student will need some time to completely digest and process what you have taught him/her. So, try to stick to 3 key important elements when giving a class.
3. Remember that clarity is more important than accuracy in the beginning
When in doubt, remember the K.I.S.S. acronym for effective teaching and learning: Keep It Short and Simple.
Organize your points in a simple manner and focus on getting the point across instead of making sure that everything is 100% accurate at first.
Build your student's foundation on a firm grasp of the theory and core concepts before going into the details about calculation and inference.
4. Getting your students engaged in your lessons
This is when you need to let your true passion in Physics and proficiency in giving examples shine! You should instil that learning this part of Physics is fun and extremely relevant in our everyday life. As a result, your students will have the memory of your enthusiasm and the cited examples whenever they are revising that topic in the future.
Perhaps they would also share the same enthusiasm and use the same examples to explain it to others... Who knows?
How to help students master the SPM & STPM Physics papers?
Examination plays a crucial role in every student who is learning Physics for his/her secondary and tertiary education. The two examinations that have the Physics subject in Malaysia's public education system are none other than Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) and Sijil Pelajaran Tinggi Malaysia (STPM).
a) Be familiar with the latest KSSM SPM syllabus and updated STPM syllabus
SPM Physics syllabus (Form 4)
2. Force & Motion I
6. Light & Optics
SPM Physics syllabus (Form 5)
1. Force & Motion II
STPM Physics syllabus
1. Physical Quantities & Units
4. Work, Energy & Power
5. Circular Motion
8. Deformation of Solids
9. Kinetic Theory of Gases
10. Thermodynamics of Gases
11. Heat Transfer
3. Electric Current
4. Direct Current Circuits
5. Magnetic Fields
6. Electromagnetic Induction
7. Alternating Current Circuits
2. Wave Motion
3. Sound Waves
4. Geometrical Optics
5. Wave Optics
6. Quantum Physics
7. Nuclear Physics
b) Teach your students to recognize important keywords and patterns when reading the questions
For multiple-choice questions
1. Identifying the right/wrong statements
2. Identifying the right label/readings/measurements
3. Finding the conclusion
For subjective questions
1. Define term X
2. State X law
3. Explain the differences between X and Y
4. Calculate the force experienced by process X
Exposing your students to various branches & careers in Physics
Apart from teaching your students solely the topics for their Physics examination, you can also educate your them about the relevance of Physics in various careers and how Physics, the teaching of Biology and Chemistry are interrelated with one another.
You can use the example of engineering to explain the importance of mastering the three sciences.
Some of the branches of Physics include:
a) Robotics Engineering
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are no longer something that we only watch in movies or hear exclusively from scientists. It is a field that many Physics students currently learn in university and eventually work in. In fact, the Malaysian Higher Education Ministry listed Robotic Engineering as one of the top five emerging careers in the country. This indicates more promising job and research opportunities for the robotics engineering industry in the coming years.
b) Chemical Engineering
Food processing, bio-life, petrochemicals, electronic and advanced materials, polymers... Chemical engineering is a field that requires the application of Chemistry and Physics. If you are considering teaching Chemistry apart from Physics, you can also read up on the job scope of chemical engineers and share with your students how they can contribute to society improving the quality of our environment.
c) Biomedical Engineering
You may have come across students who are curious about what type of careers could biology and physics lead to. Interestingly, at the present time of the Covid-19 pandemic, one profession is standing out for its significance and contribution to curbing the global outbreak.
It is none other than biomedical engineers. The application of biology and physics play a great role in building life-saving ventilators, internal medical devices, as well as 3D printing in the health sector.
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