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GAVIN BOULBY

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Teach Now! Science: The Joy of Teaching Science
Teach Now! Science: The Joy of Teaching Science
by Thom Sherrington
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.50

7 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Fear for your children, 7 Aug. 2014
This book made me despair for the future of science teaching.
In the foreword, the author makes the dubious claim that the book is 'deeply rooted in the day-to-day realities of education as it is - not as a consultant or advisor might depict it'. But surely, the purpose of an education is not to simply recreate what already exists, but to change it for the better? Just because the author's classroom is like it is doesn't mean that all classrooms are like his nor that all teachers should aspire to create classrooms like this.
At several points in the book the author refers to, variously, the 'magic', 'joy', 'awe' or 'wonder' that can be achieved through good science teaching. However, the majority of the book then goes on to provide a canon of science teaching activities that have remained largely unchanged for decades (food tests, energy circuses, pupils mixing starch and amylase and wrestling with Visking tubing for example), none of which is remotely magical, awesome or wonderful.
Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the book, though, is its lack of intellectual rigour, which makes it seem little more than the opinion of the author. For example, chapter 7 discusses the role of practical work in science. This is not problematicized at all, when actually the value of practical work is a highly contestable area. Sherrington writes 'science is very much a practical subject' (p.172). Is it? Does it have to be? Abrahams and Millar (2008) found little evidence of the value of practical work in developing conceptual understanding. As a result of the author not appearing to have engaged with the literature he has missed the opportunity to get the next generation of science teachers thinking critically about why they are doing practicals. Instead he seems to advocate just trotting out the same old existing canon of experiments that, in many cases, do not illustrate much. The energy value of foods experiment, for example (which most science teachers will surely recognise) often produces energy values that wildly underestimate the true value, to the point that they are virtually meaningless.
Those of us who believe that the best way to learn science is to behave as real scientists do, rather than behaving as other scientists have behaved in the past, will despair at the approach advocated by this book. And those of us who believe that learning to be a teacher requires an education rather than a training course (I.e. ITE not ITT) will get very little from this too. In fact, it's difficult to see who would benefit from this.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 5, 2014 9:40 AM BST


Lulu
Lulu
Offered by Great Price Media EU
Price: £4.75

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What's not to like?, 13 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Lulu (Audio CD)
I was a huge Metallica fan in the mid-80s Ride the lightning/Master of puppets era. I did buy 'Justice' and 'Black' but had drifted away into other things by then, to be honest and didn't pay them that much attention. Haven't heard anything by them since.
This, though, is immense and deserves close attention.
Track 1 Brandenburg Gate got my immediate attention, from the first few urgently strummed acoustic chords and Reed's spoken lyrics, but the album gets much better from there on.
2. The View features an immensely heavy riff, reminiscent of early Black Sabbath to my ears. Surely this must satisfy any metal fan and the purchase price was worth it for this song alone?
3. Pumping Blood is a bit variable. A simple riff with a wonderful whining lead guitar and Lou Reed screaming all through it but doesn't seem to be going anywhere really. With a minute to go it suddenly explodes into classic early 80s thrash. Great.
4. Mistress Dread starts off with what can only be described as a manic, breathless, relentless, thrash assault. Lou is speaking something but quite honestly who cares? It just adds to the mix. Towards the end the riffing dies down then starts again several times. Quite superb.
5. Iced Honey starts off quite poorly - just a real dirge of a plodding riff. Doesn't really go anywhere. Fairly forgettable and arguably the worst track on the album.
5. Cheat On Me slows things down with a lovely quiet intro and Lou repeating 'Why do you cheat on me?' over the top. Gradually the piece picks up pace and volume and turns into a really classy, mature piece of hard rock. Excellent.
6. Frustration. Awesome. A massive riff that my speakers can barely handle. Just a really heavy song, again with obvious Black Sabbath influences. The song pauses at times for Reed to deliver some dark poetry and the tension is almost unbearable, like the band are straining to be let loose before reintroducing the riff again. Awesome.
7. Little Dog provides a nice contrast to the heaviness of Frustration with a picked and strummed acoustic guitar and that wonderful winding/ whining drone of lead guitar in the background again. Excellent.
9. Dragon. Another slightly off-kilter track (the droning lead appears again, which is great). After a while what I would describe as the classic Metallica sound features, with those almost squeeky-clean chugging guitar riffs that they used to have.
10. Junior Dad. For me the clear standout track on the album. Reed singing softly over a beautiful melody for the first 10-11 minutes followed by 8-9 minutes of ambient style strings reminiscent of early Anathaema to my ears. Music for driving through the mountains at dusk. Just achingly beautiful.

Overall, a really interesting collection of edgy songs. Interesting to note the polarity of views on this. People seem to either love it or hate it, with relatively few people who are indifferent and giving 2-3 stars. You simply cannot be indifferent to art. Great art should force you to actually make a decision, one way or the other.
Initially I gave this a five but changed it, the reason being that I felt I had to reserve that rating for the truly exceptional, I.e. the top 5 records I've heard in my life, but nevertheless probably the most exciting record I've heard in over a decade. I'll probably come back and change to to 5 again in a couple of months. I read other reviewers saying bin this and listen to 'Master' again. But we can't simply play old stuff over and over again.
Metallica's best album anyone? To me this sounds like a band at or close to the peak of their powers, just relaxed and enjoying themselves. Reed's rich voice just blends in perfectly. I can't help feeling that 20 years from now critics will return to this and start writing how it was a classic and much underrated release.
Simply magnificent..
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 22, 2015 3:23 PM BST


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