EPS Physics Education Division Award for Secondary School Teaching 2017 goes to Dr Jozef Beňuška

By . Published on 20 July 2017 in:
July 2017, , , ,

The Award for Secondary School Teaching is granted every two years to a high school teacher for a specific contribution to teaching, in particular one that might be applicable in a variety of countries. “Teaching” is interpreted broadly and can include activities that encourage students to study physics or improve their access to physics. Nominations are made by the National Physical Societies.

The 2017 Award was granted to Dr. Jozef Beňuška, a teacher at the Secondary Grammar School Viliam Pauliny-Tóth in Martin, Slovakia, in particular for co-founding and operating the Centre for the Popularisation of Physics at that school. Dr Beňuška was nominated by the Slovak Physical Society. The Award was announced at the GIREP-ICPE-EPEC Conference held this year in Dublin, Ireland, July 3-7.

Jozef Beňuška was born in 1959 in Partizánske, the Slovak Republic. He finished secondary grammar school there and then in 1983 completed the Master of Education programme with specialisation in Physics and the Basics of Technical Skills at the Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, Slovakia.  In 1986, he obtained a doctorate in education there, in the field of the Theory of the Basics of Technical Skills.

While working as a teacher, he completed a third degree (PhD) programme in Nitra with a thesis called “The Activation of the Learning Process of Students and Development of Physics Thinking with the Support of Graphical Animated Models Designed by a Computer Presentation Programme”. The PhD project resulted in a course book “Digital Handbook of Physics for Primary and Secondary Schools”.

The Centre for the Popularisation of Physics was founded in 2006. Its main aim is to spread the knowledge of science through interactive experiments. It is aimed at pupils at pre-school, primary and secondary schools, as well as at the general public. It attracts approximately 3000 visitors per year.  Its influence exceeds the borders of the Slovak Republic, being visited regularly by physics teachers from the Czech Republic.

Dr Beňuška has also long been involved in organising methodological workshops and conferences for physics teachers. There are regular contacts between these activities and the “Heureka” project in the Czech Republic, which was honoured by the 2015 Secondary School Teaching Award to Dr Irina Dvořáková from Prague.

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