What to read

“If you can spare time before starting, doing some reading is very useful. Once in training, it quickly becomes a case of strict priorities with time to read about things pushed aside.” (NQT, 2013)

Deciding what is worth reading before you start your training is a challenge in itself. We have compiled a reading list based on suggestions from ITE tutors. It is wide-ranging but here are a few pointers:

  • Must-reads
    The four most commonly suggested books were
    • Teaching Secondary Physics, edited by David Sang (ASE Science Practice Series)
    • ASE Guide to Secondary Science Education, edited by Martin Hollins
    • Science Learning, Science Teaching, by Jerry Wellington & Gren Ireson
    • Making sense of secondary science, by Rosalind Driver, Ann Squires, Peter Rushworth & Valerie Wood-Robinson
  • Current text books
    Look at current text books to start to tune in to what school level science looks like. This will help you pitch the content at the right level when you start teaching.
  • Revision guides
    Generally best avoided: they neither deepen your understanding nor do they tell you how children think.
  • Children’s (mis)understanding of science
    Your understanding of physics is now nothing like that of a 14 year-old. Trying to understand what your students understand by science and how concepts build in their minds will be crucial to your teaching. Any reading you can do about common scientific misconceptions held by pupils will also be useful.
  • Pedagogy
    There are lots of books which discuss physics pedagogy, from the very practical to the highly philosophical. Grab a few to help you to start to think about how you will teach the various topics on the physics curriculum.
  • Popular science and science in the media
    Read anything that gets you excited about physics and science in general. There are also plenty of science stories in the media, whether describing what is going on at the cutting edge or reporting on controversies. Collect articles about science and physics - these can be used as context in lessons and topics for debate or discussion about scientific understanding and misconceptions.


Other IOP websites


A community for teachers of physics and their supporters


A support network for teachers and pupils of physics in England


Ideas and resources for teaching physics to students aged 16-19