All entries for February 2022

February 22, 2022

Current Consumed Model Essay Extract – Oisin Herron

Current Consumed Model Essay Extract

Research (Driver et al., 1994) has found that children in different countries develop similar ideas about natural phenomena which differ from those held by the scientific community. One such idea is that electric current is consumed when it passes through a lamp. This is known as the ‘current consumed model’ (see figure 1).

Figure 1: Popular models held by learners of physics

Figure 1: Popular models held by learners of physics, after Driver et al. (1994, pp.118-19) and Magnusson et al. (1997). The crossed circle indicates a lightbulb, where the ray lines have been added for an indication of relative brightness. The arrows indicate the electric current, where a smaller arrow indicates a smaller current. These models have been reported across different countries and ages of school students.

Figure 1: Popular models held by learners of physics, after Driver et al. (1994, pp.118-19) and Magnusson et al. (1997). The crossed circle indicates a lightbulb, where the ray lines have been added for an indication of relative brightness. The arrows indicate the electric current, where a smaller arrow indicates a smaller current. These models have been reported across different countries and ages of school students.

The current consumed model becomes more popular with student age. Of 46 sixth-form students, Shipstone (1984) found that about 40% held a current consumed model. Students have also been reported reverting to the current consumed model several months after adopting the scientific model. Joshua and Dupin (1987) reason that the model’s pervasiveness might be due to the common knowledge that batteries run out, and therefore it is counter intuitive that current should remain constant. The model may also arise because of the tendency to engage in sequential reasoning, whereby the current travels around the circuit and is subjected to a number of influences in turn (Shipstone, 1988).

Evidence points to this conception existing in modern classrooms. Students have demonstrated this conception in a relatively recent exam by an English exam board, which found that just over half of students conserved current (AQA, 2013a). The number of candidates entered into courses that took this exam was 214,091 (AQA, 2013b). Moreover, it can be argued that because this conception has been found across different countries and age groups (Driver et al., 1994), a certain level of universality can be assumed.

Chiu and Lin (2004) reported that students that held the current consumed model observed it in real life rather than reality. This is evidence that suggests that the current consumed model may warp the individual’s perception of reality. Therefore, the model may be of questionable use from a pedagogical perspective, and so one might argue that physics teachers should address it when teaching electricity.


AQA, 2013a. Report on the Examination – General Certificate of Secondary Education – PH2FP – January 2013. Manchester: Assessment and Qualifications Alliance.

AQA, 2013b. GCSE Full Course results - June 2013. Manchester: AQA.

Chiu, M.-H. & Lin, J.-W., 2004. Promoting fourth graders' conceptual change of their understanding of electric current via multiple analogies. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 42(4), pp.429-64.

Driver, R., Squires, A., Rushworth, P. & Wood-Robinson, V., 1994. Making Sense of Secondary Science. New York: Routledge.

Joshua, S. & Dupin, J.J., 1987. Taking into Account Student Conceptions in Instructional Strategy: An Example in Physics. Cognition and Instruction, 4(2), pp.117-35.

Shipstone, D.M., 1984. A study of children's understanding of electricity in simple DC Circuits. European Journal of Science Education, 6(2), pp.185-98.

Shipstone, D., 1988. Pupils' understanding of simple electrical circuits. Some implications for instruction. Physics Education, 23(2).

February 14, 2022

What is your teaching philosophy? – Travis Clarkson

What is your teaching philosophy? How has this originated and can you evaluate how your educational touchstones will impact on the teacher you aspire to be?

‘Learning would be exceedingly laborious, not to mention hazardous, if people had to rely solely on the effects of their own actions to inform them what to do.’ (Bandura, 1977 p. 22)

I am fortunate enough to hold fond memories of my first teacher with whom I do not share a surname. Attending a wedding in Costa Rica as the only adolescent in a close social group comprised of my parents’ peers, I immediately attached myself to one of the wedding attendees. For the duration of the trip, he acted as a capable guide into a world with which I was immensely unfamiliar. That I associate this period with particularly rapid and impactful learning is likely because, by means of guided observation, I was experiencing my acquisition of novel skills being ‘considerably shortened through modelling.’ (Bandura, 1977)

My teacher was not acting in singularity, rather he was inviting me to join a social group of my intellectual superiors as a ‘legitimate peripheral participant’ (Lave and Wenger, 1990) wherein I was expected to develop the preliminary aspects of behaviours already deeply engrained into their social fabric. I was not treated as an ‘equal’ per se (this would have been odd given that I was decades younger than the next-youngest member) but instead as though I had the potential to become an equal, if given the opportunity. That I was able to participate meaningfully as a member of this group did not necessitate a fundamental shift in social dynamics or subjects of discussion towards those that may have been more ‘common’ amongst learners of my inexperience. It was a potent demonstration that, as Bruner hypothesized, ‘any subject can be taught effectively in some intellectually honest form to any child at any stage of development.’ (Bruner, 1960 p. 33) I left Central America with cognitive skills and behaviours that I had begun to develop from the teachings of that group, and that I would return to frequently over the course of my formative years in an increasingly complex manner.

If the writings of those theorists cited above are to hold - and in my experience as a learner and as a teacher, I believe they should - then knowledge is constructed first and foremost within social contexts. My philosophy is therefore one that emphasizes authentic teacher-student relationships as being paramount to the act of learning. Meaningful learning, in other words, cannot be achieved without relationships facilitated by clear communication, mutual understanding, and principled fairness of interaction (DfE TS1, Part II). All pupils should be regarded as having the potential to reach intellectual parity with their instructors (with the teacher-student relationship acting as the vehicle to deliver learning), and students should be given every opportunity to develop such a relationship, with desired behaviours, skills and attitudes being modelled thoroughly and consistently.

Evidence that my adherence to this philosophy is bearing positive results can be found in the manner in which my superiors describe my impact on learning, as well as in communications from my students themselves. (DfE TS 5, 6, Part II). As part of my continuing strategy to make relationships central to my teaching, I am volunteering my time to co-found, with a student, an extra-curricular club dedicated to learning psychology. (DfE TS 8).


Bandura, A. (1977). Social learning theory. Prentice-Hall.

Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1990). Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Bruner, J. (1960) The Process of Education, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

February 07, 2022

What is your teaching philosophy? – Doreen Chia Pei Nee

What is your teaching philosophy? How was this originated and can you evaluate how your educational touchstones will impact on the teacher you aspire to be?

“What I hear, I forget. What I see, I remember. What I do, I understand.” - This is the quote that shapes my approach in teaching and it always acts as a reminder when I plan my lessons. My teaching philosophy is to create an ideal environment where students are eager and passionate to learn. I was brought up in a small city where I attended conventional school and I was educated in a very traditional way. Throughout my learning journey, all my schools are very ‘test-heavy’ and we were asked to sit in front of our desks in rows and repeat our reading and writing after the teacher. Therefore, in my teaching now, I always take into consideration and make allowances for hands-on and fun learning activities in my lessons to engage my students in their learning. According to Hunton (2015), “fun without the learning implies a missing object and a lack of strategy supporting the use”. I do believe that ‘fun learning’ is one of the key elements to emphasise positive learning behaviours and create an engaging learning environment in class.

I also believe that Hunton’s theory links to applying ‘Active Learning’ in classrooms and the first three levels in Bloom’s Taxonomy which is ‘Remembering’, ‘Understanding” then ‘Applying’. Tabrizi & Rideout (2017) states that, “This reflects on how we learn from simple (remember) to complex (create), and from concrete to abstract”. When students are given a new concept, they explore and learn through different activities and once they understand the idea, they could then apply this knowledge in other areas. Also, Hunton (2015) argues that, “Challenge is one of the Eight Triggers mentioned by Griffith and Burns (2012) as being a great motivating technique; accepting challenge is an effective way of obtaining results”. Eventually, we are aiming that the student can reach a higher level in Bloom’s taxonomy, where they ‘evaluate and create’, by including critical thinking approaches in lessons and to challenge the more ability (TS5 – “Adapt teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils”) in class to keep on learning.

In my first Mandarin lesson, whilst it was fun and informative, it was too much learning for students to comprehend in one single lesson. Upon reflecting on my teaching, just as Hammond and Gibbons (2001) explained, “Scaffolding is the heart of effective teaching and teachers are just like builders, providing supporting structures to assist learners to develop new concepts”. In order for students to ‘internalise’ new understanding, effective scaffolding in planning and delivering lessons is what I believe a teacher should always be mindful of.

My aspiration is to be a teacher who supports and helps the children to achieve what they are passionate about by providing a secure and loving environment to grow. Just like my first school that I worked at, the school’s philosophy was “The teacher speaks softly, the children grow calmly. I promise to provide you a safe place to grow, I promise to offer you a happy place to develop.” (TS1 – “Establish a safe and stimulating environment for pupils”). This has impacted my teaching approaches and shaped my ideology in teaching.

By embracing fun learning in my teaching and bringing together what I am learning in this course, I believe I can achieve my goal to be the kind of teacher I would like to be, compassionate and knowledgeable, and my students would thrive and flourish in the future.


Tabrizi, S. & Rideout, G. (2017). Active Learning: Using Bloom's Taxonomy to Support Critical Pedagogy [Online]. (

Hunton, J. (2015). Fun Learning Activities for Modern Foreign Language [Online]. (

Griffith, A. & Burns, M. (2012). Outstanding Teaching: Engaging Learners, Carmarthen, Crown House Publishing.

Hammond, J. & Gibbons, P. (2001). What is Scaffolding? In J. Hammond (Ed.), Scaffolding: Teaching and learning in language and literacy education. Sydney: Primary English Teachers Association.

February 01, 2022

What is your teaching philosophy? – Zhen Wei Chew

My teaching philosophy lies in the importance of a student-centred education and so our role is twofold. At its simplest level we must:

1) develop an interest in the pupil for learning the subject

2) challenge the pupil to think and learn through ideas and problems

These two roles combine to produce an effective educator. An interested pupil with no challenge does not progress and a challenged pupil with no interest will become frustrated. My journey as a teacher so far has been one of seeking to balance these two concepts, continuously developing my own repertoire and teaching methods towards this end.

An interested student

The importance of developing a love of learning a subject in a student is obvious but often overlooked in teaching. This cannot be substituted for them having fun in the lesson or enjoying teacher interactions (though of course these are important in their own right). Instead, we must help them foster personal reasons to enjoy learning about a subject. As an IGCSE student, though I found certain subjects like Geography and PE fun, I now realise that my History teacher had instilled in me a passion for learning about historical figures and eras that made me excited to even write essays! This love of learning about the times before has stayed with me until now. Philpott, summarising Bruner, states that ‘extrinsic rewards are important yet learning will only continue if the rewards become intrinsic, when the pupils are learning because they want to’ (Philpott, 2001: 122). One obvious way to develop this is to include the students’ preferences where possible within the framework of the lesson objective. For example, for my module on The Modern Pop Song for Year 9 students, I asked them to provide their favourite pop song which I listened to and organically added to my plan for the unit. This encouraged them to engage more with the lesson, often being particularly eager to answer questions on their chosen song when it was used.

A challenged student

Challenging the student within the subject is vital both in developing their understanding and, in my particular context, demonstrating that music is worth developing their understanding of. In Malaysia, outside of international schools, music is very rarely part of the secondary curriculum, and when it is offered is often discouraged by parents. Against this backdrop, challenging students in music gives assurance that it is a subject that can be explored critically in its own right and is worthy of academic pursuit. The possibility that I could study music critically was something that only occurred to me when studying Music at A Level, as I had found IGCSE music was quite easy. I discovered that the detail and depth one could find in the different characteristics and contexts of music was very stimulating. As Pitts states ‘emphasis on outcomes other than musical ones risks distorting the place of music in the curriculum, positioning it as an enabler of other kinds of development rather than a valued subject in its own right.’ (Pitt, 2017: 161). The neglected position of music in Malaysia’s education landscape is something I look forward to overcoming one day.


Pitts, S. E. (2017) What is music education for? Understanding and fostering routes into lifelong musical engagement, Music Education Research, 19:2, 160-168

Philpott, C. (2001) Learning to Teach music in The Secondary School. London, RoutledgeFalmer.

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