Can physics be taught online?
Can physics be taught effectively online with a private tutor? It certainly can, as Brighton and Hove tutor and former head of physics, Adrian Holland explains…
‘Parents often think that online physics is a dry, didactic subject. They imagine me simply giving out the information and the child writing it all down. They can’t imagine a science lab in someone’s home. But look around!’
Adrian gestures around his study. It’s a virtual Aladdin’s cave filled with the equipment and tools which make his lessons dynamic. ‘The microscope is connected to the computer so a pupil and I can examine slides together. We have a ray box to demonstrate refraction and I have a second camera. We have all the equipment which enables us to undertake the practical work as a team. I start with the basics of good practice, for example, reading a simple measure correctly at eye level – you’d be surprised at how often it’s not done correctly! Then there are the advanced experiments required at A-level. Physics is a dynamic subject. There is lots to do, and lots you can do.’
When should you call in a physics tutor?
An advanced physics qualification demonstrates that a student can combine analytical and mathematical skills at a high level. Physics is considered essential for many career pathways – medicine, engineering, electronics, and scientific research – and complements other A levels such as maths, chemistry, and biology. But when is the best time to call on the services of a private physics tutor?
Adrian recommends that parents take the initiative in good time, and not simply hope that their child will catch up.
‘There are many reasons why a child might fall behind in physics. The issue might be flagged up in a school report or on a parent’s evening. Perhaps there’s been a period of illness. Maybe the transition to secondary school – often challenging – has caused a loss of focus. There might be a teacher whom the child simply hasn’t gelled with. A bit of a boost may be all that’s needed, and in these cases, I often arrange five sessions, perhaps after school or during the holidays.’
The school holidays, in particular, the summer break is the ideal opportunity for a once-a-week session. The child learns in an unpressurised environment and returns to school full of confidence. ‘They can bring me anything they’ve been struggling with and go back to lessons with a head start,’ says Adrian.
The ‘magic square’ of school, parent, pupil, tutor
According to Adrian, the joined-up approach of the square is vital.
‘Each part of the square has a role to play. I aim for transparency. Everyone knows what progress is being made.’ Adrian writes a brief report for parents after each tutoring session and stays in regular contact with the school. This works particularly well when a pupil needs more intensive tutoring. ‘Recently, I put together a lesson package for a pupil doing triple science who had performed very poorly in his first exam. Now we have dates, start and end points, and a clear list of objectives.’
Parents have a crucial role in identifying the need for extra physics tuition, as they are the ones with a long-term view of their child’s capabilities and ambitions. As Adrian says, ‘They can feel and see the progress happening.’
Adrian works with any exam board, their various science awards and syllabus requirements, and will advise families regarding university applications.
Benefits of Private Physics tutoring for Concentration Issues
Adrian teaches a range of ages, his youngest pupil is aged nine and the oldest is 17. Adrian tutors several children who find it difficult to maintain attention during a physics lesson. However, these lessons are just as successful as the others. ‘It’s just a case of structuring it differently.’
For one pupil, the inclusion of a few five-minute breaks at timed intervals makes all the difference. For another, it’s having permission to get a drink or a snack when they feel they need one. Adrian comments that one of his pupils likes to stand up and recap what they can remember from the previous lesson before she sits down and begins the new one.
‘All these minor adjustments are possible in a private tutoring session,’ says Adrian, ‘although they are much more difficult to accommodate in the classroom.’
Make contact with a Brighton and Hove physics tutor
If you think your child would benefit from extra tuition with a qualified Brighton and Hove physics tutor, Elite Tutors will be happy to discuss how they can help.
Your tutor will discuss how your child, within the context of your unique family, can get the best out of this challenging, but dynamic, subject.