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Subject Knowledge for Physics Teaching: Jules Becker

"Without question I would recommend SKPT. It’s a very important offer and the benefits are wide-ranging."

Published: 14 February 2024

Jules Becker has completed six SKPT modules – he will have completed three modules with The Ogden Trust over the past year and says it has been his “best and most fulfilling year of CPD.” Jules explains more about his SKPT experience and his journey to becoming a physics teacher.

I have been a teacher for more than 20 years, teaching media studies, photography, media production and film studies at KS5. In 2008 I read about the dearth of physics teachers in the UK. I had always been interested in physics and the article made me think about training to teach the subject. In 2016, having revised all my maths from scratch, I began studying physics again.

I did a physics TSST which was cut short because of the COVID pandemic. Keen to continue my professional development in physics teaching, and following a recommendation from a colleague, I started on the Subject Knowledge for Physics Teaching (SKPT) programme. The programme was initially delivered by the Institute of Physics, and I have done IOP modules in forces, electromagnetism and energy. In the past 12 months I have done Ogden SKPT modules in waves and matter & space, and I am now completing the Ogden SKPT in atomic physics.

The SKPT CPD has extended and deepened my physics subject knowledge and I am significantly more confident delivering physics content now than I was;  without the support of the SKPT CPD I’m not sure I would have lasted on this journey.

The SKPT programme has definitely influenced my teaching. Through the programme I have been introduced to the Best Evidence Science Teaching (BEST) resources developed by the University of York Science Education Group. The BEST resources have really helped me to tune in to student misconceptions and respond to them more effectively. Prior to SKPT, the idea of evidence almost exclusively referred to the various types of assessments and analysis of data from those assessments. The experience of working with BEST materials on successive SKPTs has given me a whole new appreciation of the phrase ‘evidenced based’.

I like the blended learning format of SKPT. I commit myself 100 per cent to the independent learning and invest a lot of time and effort in that part of the programme, but my relative inexperience means that I have definitely appreciated the chance to participate in face-to-face and online sessions led by physics specialists, and the opportunity to ask questions and get meaningful answers.

Without question I would recommend SKPT. It’s a very important offer and the benefits are wide-ranging. The biggest selling point for me is that in key areas of the subject SKPT has given me a conceptual understanding that wasn’t there previously. Aside from making me more confident, it means that I am definitely better equipped to be in a classroom teaching physics.

Jules Becker 
July 2023

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