We were delighted to welcome Shaun Donnelly, the science teacher behind freesciencelessons into school today. Pupils in years 10 and 11 were excited at the prospect of Shaun coming into school because as well as being incredibly knowledgeable about science, he is also a YouTube sensation. His free science lessons have received a staggering 44 million views on the channel, with many students attributing their interest and success in science to his videos.
Shaun spoke to pupils about his humble background and his own aspirations when he was younger. He studied at the University of Oxford, and completed his PhD in London. It was during his PhD that he discovered a love of teaching. He began making YouTube videos when one of his pupils asked if he could teach him every science. Shaun realised that he couldn’t teach every science class in school but he could share his knowledge with a wider audience via video. In the first year, his videos had 22,000 views, growing to over 44 million views in just five years.
Throughout his talk, Shaun brought pupils back to looking at a memory test on the board, the reason becoming evident at the end. He asked pupils to think about their own career aspirations and said, “Don’t let anyone stop you from achieving what you want.”
He then debunked myths about science and talked about the importance of effort, practice and revision. He discussed mock exams and GCSEs and shared eleven ways that pupils can improve their science grades. He also talked about the variety of job roles connected to science. Finally, he came back to the memory test. The images were shown five times throughout the course of his talk, and pupils were able to remember them due to repeatedly viewing the images, repetition being a key element of successful revision.
Following the talk Shaun taught small groups of pupils. Thank-you to Shaun for coming into school, pupils really enjoyed his engaging sessions and came away with lots of useful advice to put into practise over the forthcoming academic years.