Masters of Teaching Mind Dump #21
You can find previous Brain Dumps here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20.
Phew... it is weird that I find it nice that after many hours of trying complete my assignment for Secondary Science teaching that I can just sit back a write freely about the experience! Somehow, trying to write in a manner that is partly academic (for the response to coursework questions) and writing in a manner that is more watertight (for the design and reporting of a Physics asseessment) is quite exhausting! Often, I find myself writing and then rewriting a sentence or paragraph as I try to make it clearer... or get interrupted by hunting down and referencing sources... or more likely, fall into a rabbit hole of research and articles just because my mind is annoyingly curious!
So, for the first assignment (Literacy and numeracy), I just gave up waiting on the lecturer feedback. There were five forum posts that needed to be written, and they were all waiting on responses from the lecturer... about a month ago. The lecturer has finally made it to the first TWO! The feedback is pretty lame as well... just a well done and nothing really more than that. In responses to other students, he points out spelling mistakes and stuff like using italics properly for referencing in APA7. So... basically all the things that he course tells you IS NOT Literacy/Numeracy!
I think I will definitely be giving some feedback about that particular course... broken links, poor online layout of content and lectures, late feedback that is required for assignment submission, unclear and inconsistent assignment instructions. Bad bad bad... I've had a terrible time with this course, and I suspect that I'm not the only one. Anyway... I didn't bother to wait for the rest of the feedback, collected my forum posts and submitted. Get it over and done with!
Meanwhile, the main assignment that I've been working on for this week is the design of a Secondary Physics assessment. I've taken it onboard to try and devise an depth assessment (literature review, open exploration) that is based around what students learn about Quantum Mechanics and (Special) Relativity. These are topics that seem to generally get skipped over for the depth assessments... partly because it is "hard", and the students don't have access to resources to make or test anything... and because the stuff that they learn at school is just too little in terms of mathematics and theory to go very far.
So, I had the idea that I would try and have them explore the past, present and future of these two abstract pillar theories of Physics.... a bit pretentious in a way, but I really want to try and make something new that isn't covered ad nausem by commercial assessment packages! Plus, I want to know if this is at all possible... or if I should revert back to the safer grounds of Mechanics and ElectroMag which are topics that don't interest ME!
Anyway, the gist of the written part is to have students explore the circumstances around the birth of QM/SR, and then explore the limitations of these theories and how they might be superseded in the future by things like String Theory. It is an attempt to show how QM/SR prevailed over Classical Physics by explaining things that Classical Physics couldn't... and how there are still areas and observations that they can't explain which might mean that there is further refinement and reconciliation needed.
... and then the bulk of the assessment would be a live/recorded presentation of pretty much ANYTHING that the ideas and concepts of QM/SR has touched upon. Culture, Technology, Philosophy, Theoretical Physics, Astrophysics, Society, Arts... really ANYTHING as long as it can be linked back to concepts from QM/SR. My wife suggested that it might be a bit too open-ended for secondary students... but I trust that there would be quite a great deal of imagination still left in those heads! After all, who wouldn't take up the opportunity to talk about free-will, time/space, Lisa Mietner, black holes, multiverses, favourite films/TV/comics, memes, misconceptions, conflicts in Physics, Einstein being wrong, nuclear things... and even that stupid cat!
Anyway, just in case... I included on the assessment instruction sheet a number of links and videos to act as little seeds... Something for everyone... hopefully!
Anyway, the assessment task and information sheet is done... and parts of the stupid bureaucratic part is being worked on now. This means that I have to list the Content and Skills outcomes that are being assessed with reference to blah blah standards and blah... and then also design a marking rubric (scheme) so that the parents don't have the ability to complain that precious child is not scoring a million and one percent because... don't you KNOW WHO THEY ARE!?!?!?!?!?
I suspect that if I do end up teaching, I'm going to be a bit of a crank when it comes to this part of the job. It is weird, but I do see that some of my fellow students quite enjoy that part... weird! Quantifiable metrics... I guess they hail from the "real" world, not like me!
So, that should be done by Monday... well, preferably by Sunday. Then I can start work on the last assignment... in Literacy/Numeracy. Sigh, not looking forward to that!
I did receive a call yesterday to spend the week in Italy with a Czech ensemble... would have been nice, but quite stressful juggling the music work with the assignment. However, just after I accepted the job and was about to start looking for flights... the contact person called me and apologised, the whole team was looking for someone at such short notice and someone else had responded just minutes before me to someone else on the admin staff. Ah well... Italy would have been nice, and it is a nice group to play with... however, probably for the best. Less stress is always good... and despite the fact that I don't like this particular course (L/N), I still like to make a good fist of the submissions!
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