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Why I returned to teaching

I know I will cry when I eventually leave the school where I’ve worked for the last decade or so. I won’t be able to help it – I’ve cried on my final day at every school I’ve ever belonged, as a student or teacher. The last time was when I left my second teaching job, in the belief that I was leaving the profession for good. I had been studying part-time for a masters in Science Communication and this had led to an offer of a job as a… Read more Why I returned to teaching

Mr Shaha’s A-level Reading List

“Our ability to understand the universe and our position in it is one of the glories of the human species. Our ability to link mind to mind by language, and especially to transmit our thoughts across the centuries is another. Science and literature, then, are the two achievements of Homo Sapiens that most convincingly justify the specific name” – Richard Dawkins Here is a list of books I think Physics A-level students might enjoy – I’d encourage them to read a selection from each section: The Meaning of Science by Tim… Read more Mr Shaha’s A-level Reading List

STEM Scholarships for Undergraduates

Most universities will have their own scholarship / bursary schemes and students should search for them for the universities they hope to attend. The Scholarship Hub seems to be a really useful website for this. Here’s a list of other scholarships / grants which A-level students may want to look into (I’ll be updating this post as I stumble across other useful links): The Ogden Trust – scholarships for 6th Formers studying Physics and Physics undergraduates Range Rover Evoque WISE Scholarship (women) – £1000 per year for 3 years of degree IET… Read more STEM Scholarships for Undergraduates

Science / Engineering work experience for 6th formers

Lots of my A-level students are unsure what they want to do at university or for a career. I believe work experience in science or engineering during the summer following Year 12 can help them make up their minds. Over the past few years, I’ve managed to use personal contacts to arrange placements for a number of students and they’ve always been incredibly grateful for this, often choosing to go into the field in which they did the work experience. It shouldn’t be the case that I am left to organise such things… Read more Science / Engineering work experience for 6th formers

Looking more closely at the world

It’s been a while since The Young Atheist’s Handbook was published but I’ve continued writing about Atheism and Humanism in New Humanist magazine and elsewhere and I have become a trustee of the British Humanist Association. However, I’ve been focussing on my work in science education and am proud to announce that Demo: The Movie, a film about how and why we should use demonstrations in science teaching, is now available to view. It’s very much a film for science teachers and it looks at how we can get our… Read more Looking more closely at the world

Too many songs about love, not enough about friendship?

“Love songs have been a majority of all songs ever written” and “Love in music has been expressed in all cultures and among all gender, race, and age groups” are claims made by social scientists who study this sort of thing. I suspect no-one reading this will be surprised by these statements or find them difficult to believe, but I think it’s a pity that we have elevated romantic love to such a privileged position in popular culture that we neglect other forms of love, particularly friendship. There are lots… Read more Too many songs about love, not enough about friendship?

GCSE Science Consultation

The Government is currently carrying out a consultation on the draft criteria for GCSE Science. Physics textbook writer David Sang, who I’ve worked with in making a number of physics demonstration films, has some concerns which he’s allowed me to share here: I have specifically commented on the Physics sections as I feel unqualified to comment on Biology and Chemistry – although these are clearer and briefer. I have restricted myself to two or three examples of each type of problem, although I could have come up with many more… Read more GCSE Science Consultation

Credit where credit’s due

I remember the first time I saw my name in the credits of a TV programme – it was for the BBC’s Blood of the Vikings. It felt awesome. A few years later, I was lucky enough to see the words “A film by Alom Shaha” on the big screen at the Ritzy Picturehouse, where my short film Do Make Friends was being screened. That felt awesome too. This morning, I saw a tweet from @guardianscience about a film which I am incredibly proud to have written, directed and produced:… Read more Credit where credit’s due

Knowing, and loving, fictional characters

A little reading around the subject reveals that some of the Biblical stories featuring the Abrahamic God are almost certainly loose adaptations of earlier myths. Noah was not the first character in a story who had to deal with a massive flood, and Jesus was not the first to be born when a woman was impregnated by a god. The figure of the Abrahamic God has evolved from earlier gods, and continues to evolve as new interpretations of the Abrahamic religions or, indeed, entirely new religions, spring up. In one… Read more Knowing, and loving, fictional characters