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Culture, history and society

2020 Marie Curie-Sklodowska Medal and Prize

Paul Chambers for his long service to and shaping of physics and science education in Scotland through training teachers to engage in critical research-led pedagogy and practical teaching.

Paul Chambers, Marie Curie-Sklodowska Medal prize winner

Paul Chambers has 20 years of committed service to the development of physics and science education and teaching in Scotland.

He’s been responsible for training physics teachers at Jordanhill School and subsequently the University of Strathclyde since 1999.

Throughout this time he has engaged with research, not least in relation to misconceptions in physics, to help his students – Scotland’s future teachers – to develop into critical research-led teachers.

Chambers has aimed to develop future teachers not only as teachers of their subject but as educators.

Not satisfied to accept the current way of doing things, his personal scholarship has led him to develop methods of explaining energy and electricity to young people, and he has used these in his university teaching to develop the workforce.

His work to develop teaching in physics at primary school level is particularly significant. He trains primary teaching students in order to give them the confidence to deliver stronger lessons in situ, but also brings schools to the university to expand the reach of this exercise.

His liaison with the Scottish Schools Education Research Centre and Education Scotland ensures that he is creating a sustainable structure which can continue and expand to provide development opportunities for Scotland's primary teachers.

His time at Strathclyde has included work on various projects including interdisciplinary learning, scientific literacy and international work on integrated STEM in China.

His international work has also extended to Malawi, where he wrote a report on widening access to science for girls on behalf of the British Council.

Chambers has written over 20 textbooks across physics and general science ensuring that his expertise is disseminated with the widest reach and he has been a consultant for BBC Bitesize.

He served on the physics qualification development team for the Scottish Qualifications Authority from 2007 to 2012, where he helped to design the content, structure and assessment procedures for all physics courses from National 4 to Advanced Higher.

Chambers has been a supportive member of the physics teaching community in Scotland. He supports teachers in their career and makes himself available for development opportunities.

He is currently developing new models for teaching of higher concepts including practical work for particle accelerators.