Media release: Associate Professor Graham Hardy and Professor Shari Forbes speak at the National Science Teachers’ Summer School

We know that enthusiastic and committed teachers make a difference to Australian students studying science both in and beyond high school. Supporting teacher engagement is important to address the current high drop out rates from STEM subjects, particularly among female students.

The federal government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda released this month injected $48 million into improving science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education with the aim of increasing numbers of coding classes, training for teachers to teach digital technology, and boosting participation in STEM classes.

Australia’s Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb earlier this month endorsed the Education Council Report, National STEM School Education Strategy[1], which is an important step toward improving STEM skills of students by lifting the standard of STEM content in teacher education.[2]

For 10 years, the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) has been delivering the National Science Teachers Summer School (NSTSS) each January. The NSTSS aims to address issues of teacher engagement in a five-day residential program based at the Australian National University (ANU).

Running from 10–15 January 2016, the program aims to reignite teachers’ passion for science and to conduct a professional dialogue about teaching and learning, as well as exploring ways of engaging students in STEM.

The 2016 program has an exceptional line-up of speakers including two lectures by Associate Professor Graham Hardy from the University of South Australia who will share his research on Science as Human Endeavour: Exploring the Big Ideas, and Approaches of Teaching, covering how interdisciplinary inquiry can benefit STEM teaching.

His recent work includes a project on interdisciplinary learning in science and mathematics, and a second project focused on developing Inquiry Based Learning approaches and how to apply them in science and mathematics. He is now working on a Higher Education Priority Pool (HEPP) funded STEM project to support the development of pedagogical practice in low socioeconomic schools around Adelaide.

Professor Shari Forbes from The University of Technology Sydney and coordinator of Australia’s first body farm will also address the teachers, exploring her experience of the advantages and challenges of interdisciplinary research.

Please contact the NYSF communications team if you would like to interview Associate Professor Graham Hardy or Professor Shari Forbes.

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Media enquires: Julie Maynard 0421 154 201, julie.maynard@nysf.edu.au

[1] Education Council, (2015), National STEM School Education Strategy, http://www.educationcouncil.edu.au/site/DefaultSite/filesystem/documents/National%20STEM%20School%20Education%20Strategy.pdf

[2]Australia’s Chief Scientist, (2015) Media Release: Making STEM a priority in schools http://www.chiefscientist.gov.au/2015/12/media-release-making-stem-a-priority-in-schools/