Laureena Todd brings 4-month old Aaden to PC Ready Workshop

Youngest ever ‘Primary Connections Ready’ Workshop attendee

Published 01 October 2016

On the 8th and 9th of September, PrimaryConnections Funded Projects hosted ‘PrimaryConnectionsReady’, a pre-service teacher workshop for students at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) in Toowoomba. This two-day primary science and literacy professional learning workshop is supported by the Australian Government Department of Education and Training through the Mathematics and Science Participation Program. This year over 1000 pre-service teachers have been trained.

We had our youngest ever attendee at this event, 4 month old Aaden, who came along with his very dedicated mum, Laureena Todd, who is currently completing her teaching degree at USQ. Laureena, who strongly agreed that she would recommend the workshop to other pre-service teachers, wrote in her evaluation form that the workshop was very practical and hands on.

Dr Karen Spence, Senior Lecturer (Science Education) at USQ, noted that she wished that she could deliver the same experience as part of the ‘Teaching Science for Understanding’ unit. Dr Spence commented that her favourite part of the workshop was seeing pre-service teachers genuinely involved in science education in a supportive and non-competitive environment. She commented: “I appreciated your willingness to travel to regional universities. It’s not often we get these opportunities.”

Mary Oliver, a distance education student at USQ sent through an e-Portfolio assignment about her experience at the Toowoomba workshop. A section is featured below:

“Engaging in professional learning to improve practice took me to USQ, Toowoomba campus, where I engaged in the workshop with other pre-service teachers. As I am an online student it was beneficial and encouraging to interact with other pre-service teachers, especially those at the same point in their studies as myself. The workshop was planned and implemented around the 5Es of inquiry learning. (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate). The facilitators used various strategies and approaches, such as visuals; physical activities; experiments in collaborative small groups; questions and evaluations. Every aspect of learning we experienced, we were also taught how we would effectively teach it to students. This process was a very powerful way of learning.

I believe the PrimaryConnections workshop is an extremely valuable professional learning opportunity. I gained so much information, which extended and transformed my thinking. I also gained a certificate of participation as evidence of my learning. Even though PrimaryConnections focuses on science and connecting to literacy, many of the learning strategies and teaching methods could be applied to any subject across the curriculum. It was beneficial and revealing to be the student and work within the 5Es. I was not just simply reading about this method of learning, I was experiencing every aspect of it; which creates a much deeper and richer understanding.”

-Mary Oliver, USQ Student

The PrimaryConnections Funded Projects team is planning on more than doubling the amount of pre-service teachers trained in this two-day course next year.