Thursday, June 28, 2007

Physicists Protest at GCSE Change

The problem with the teaching of physics and the quality of physics education in the UK appear to continue. I've mentioned earlier a piece by Harry Kroto on the wrecking of British Science. Now comes word of a protest by many physicists, especially physics teachers, that the new GCSE requirement (that's like a high school "evaluation exams" for people who aren't sure that it is) is dumbing down the physics curriculum in the UK.

"In this course, pupils debate topics like global warming and nuclear power. Debate drives science, but pupils do not learn meaningful information about the topics they debate. Scientific argument is based on quantifiable evidence.

"The person with the better evidence, not the better rhetoric or talking points, wins. But my pupils now discuss the benefits and drawbacks of nuclear power plants, without any real understanding of how they work or what radiation is.

"The result is a fiasco that will destroy physics in England," he argues.

It sounds like they're training the kids to be POLITICIANS, where you can get by with bells and whistles, but with very little substance. After all, this is how you get to seduce most of the general public, by being perky, shallow, and superficial. That is fine if that is what they intend to be, but to pretend that this is how someone who wants to understand physics should do is hilarious. Who designed such a thing, politicians?

However, in an earlier report that I posted here as well, I thought they're dropping this "dumbed down" GCSC standards? Can someone from the UK who is familiar with this post a comment/update on what's going on?


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