Over 300 Regional and Remote Teachers Trained Across Australia
Over the first six months of 2017, PrimaryConnections travelled across Australia to train over 300 regional and remote teachers. Funded by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training through the Mathematics and Science Participation Program and donations given to the Academy’s ‘Enlightening Campaign’, we delivered ten professional learning workshops in the locations listed below:
Northern Territory: • Katherine • Darwin
Western Australia: • Perth (for regional WA teachers) • Port Hedland
South Australia: • Maitland
Victoria: • Geelong • Shepparton
New South Wales: • Sydney (for regional NSW teachers) • Armidale
Tasmania: • Hobart
One teacher, Eric Toome from St James School in Jamestown (an outer regional school in South Australia), who attended our Australian Government funded workshop in Maitland wrote to us completing the training on the 9th June 2017:
“As a teacher in a country school who finds it extremely difficult so often to attend professional development sessions due to distance, very limited time or budget constraints, I was pleased to be offered something which was aimed at country people and which also covered so much of the costs involved. I immediately enrolled as I have taught a number of PrimaryConnections units over the years but without any understanding of the drivers behind or whether I was doing justice to the topic.
On entering the room I was joyfully greeted by one of the presenters which immediately set the tone for the day.
Everything was presented in a friendly, relaxed, non-judgemental manner which allowed every attendee to feel positive about their role. To find that we should really have had training prior to teaching any unit was not unexpected but at the same time a revelation. The three presenters worked together happily and none seemed bothered when another spoke or gave a viewpoint during any session they were running. To me a sign of great respect and trust between the team. It enabled all teachers the opportunity to feel free to be as interactive as they wished and confident to speak to any point being made and to ask questions which arose.
I certainly took the opportunity to develop my understanding and also work with other teachers with whom I had previously had no contact. We sat as a group and talked through issues and thoughts as if old friends, something not common, especially in professional development sessions in city locations. Ideas were swapped and given positively that helped build a clearer picture of PrimaryConnections and its benefit to learning of Science in our schools.
The sessions were not too long at all and again due to the attitudes of the presenters each flowed freely and time passed quickly with much learned. It was on the drive home that I had time to really consider the day and its influence on me as a teacher. I came away enlightened, enthused and with a much greater understanding of how I will use units in future. I have already begun planning the topic I will be using next term and how my approach will differ. A very interesting and notable point that came of the day was how the presenters emphasised the value of working with other teachers at the training and following up. I saw a number of phone numbers swapped and people talking afterwards. Not often seen.
Congratulations to the team on a job well done. You provided confidence, understanding, information and opportunity to develop skills further. I don’t think that any person could have walked away from that session without getting something positive. I was quite a happy attendee who will recommend these days to any one and have done so. I am a teacher of over 35 years so it goes to show that the right information will give an old dog new enthusiasm and excitement at what he can do. Congratulations again.”
This feedback, not only from Eric, but from the vast majority of teachers who complete our workshops is a testament to not only the quality of the program, but also, the need to continually make these workshops available for teachers in all parts of Australia. With the support of the Australian Government and donations made to the Academy, we endeavour to continually increase teachers’ confidence and inspire them to teach science effectively.
Eric Toome at the Maitland workshop, June 9 2017