Friday, January 25, 2008

Physics Teacher Shortage Perpetuates Negative Cycle

This is an important news article, but not for the same reason that was described. It reports that fact that roughly 2/3 of high school physics teachers in the US did not major in physics.

Two-thirds of high school physics teachers didn’t major in the subject, a lack of qualifications that often leads to unenthusiastic students who never enter the worker-deprived science fields, researchers lamented Tuesday in Baltimore.

Now of course, it doesn't mean that all of these physics teachers without a physics degree are not doing a good job. However, there's a very high likelihood that a teacher with a physics degree would have a deeper understanding of basic physics and also the enthusiasm for it, or else, why would someone major in it?

However, the reason why one needs a teacher like that may not necessarily be the reason given in that article. We should not teach physics simply with the aim of getting the students to "... enter the worker-deprived science fields..." Students need to learn and understand physics because of the analytical skills that they acquire in learning this subject. They need to understand how science arrives at deciding what is valid and what isn't. The ability of a physics teacher to understand the subject and having the enthusiasm for it could influence on whether a student likes or hates physics. These could be the student that later on in life, make a decision on issues involving science, and physics in particular {looks at the current occupant of the White House}.

So the teaching of physics should not be with the purpose of getting students into science/technological fields. It should be to educate and make the students appreciate its importance and how it works, no matter what line of occupation they end up in.


1 comment:

zodea said...

I just finished the paper work to add a physics endorsement to my teaching license. I was told today by my department head that being certfied to teach does not make me quaified to teach. So her 'favorite' will be teaching the honors physics classes even though he is not certfied and has NO desire to teach the class.

Maybe if they treated teachers better, you wouldn't have this type of shortage.