Recent press reports would have us believe that physics is in imminent danger of dying out in schools due to the lack of tutors willing or able to teach the subject.
Apparently both teachers and pupils see the subject as too difficult. I have seen similar stories about the decline of maths. Looking at the pages of The Engineer, it occurred to me that this would be a disaster, as so many of the advances you regularly outline require not just a basic, but a highly advanced understanding of the laws of physics.
It is an easy option to blame the ‘dumbing down’ of the education system for this decline, but that will not help us find an answer.
Talking to my son about this issue, I have discovered that he and his friends have been put off these subjects — not just because they seem ‘difficult’, but because they are seen as so theoretical as to be irrelevant to real life. Yet when the outcomes of physics, maths and engineering are seen in all their glory as a new plane, car engine or TV set, it all suddenly begins to make sense.
It might annoy those who think that science should be studied in schools purely for its own sake, but a sense of the practical outcome is important to inspire the current crop of pupils, some of whom will go on to be the next generation of teachers.
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