(L-R) The Premier, Gladys Berejiklian awarded Alstonville Public School acting principal Kirstin Beck with a Premier's Commonwealth Bank STEM Scholarship on August 14 at The MInt in Sydney. Pictured with them is Education Minister Rob Stokes.
(L-R) The Premier, Gladys Berejiklian awarded Alstonville Public School acting principal Kirstin Beck with a Premier's Commonwealth Bank STEM Scholarship on August 14 at The MInt in Sydney. Pictured with them is Education Minister Rob Stokes. contributed

Alstonville teacher is one of the 'best and brightest'

AN ALSTONVILLE teacher dedicated to improving and deepening children's learning has been awarded a 2019 Premier's Teacher Scholarship.

Alstonville Public School's acting principal, Kirstin Beck, was rewarded for her commitment to quality education with a Premier's Commonwealth Bank STEM Scholarship, which supports the teaching of science, technology, engineering or mathematics relevant to NSW curriculum or courses.

With a career spanning 19 years, Ms Beck said it was "exciting and unforgettable moment" to receive the scholarship from The Premier, Gladys Berejiklian at The Mint in Sydney on August 14.

"Receiving the scholarship was definitely a feather in the cap," Ms Beck said.

"It will provide further opportunities for me to share my learning with educators across NSW to continually add value to the already amazing STEM programs that are in schools."

Over the last few years, Ms Beck has had a large part in Alstonville public school teachers using a teaching method called Project Based Learning.

"It's not a traditional way of teaching," she said.

"It's not so much chalk and talk, it's about learning through enquiry and the students having voice and choice in not only what they're learning but how to implement that learning as well.

"An example is last year, children in in Years 5 and 6 had a STEM car wars competition where they designed a toy car for a race that used renewable energy.

"They had the choice of how they were going to power the car and how they were going to design it. To see the change in our students from this teaching method is wonderful - they are going through strength to strength with that."

Ms Beck's proposed study is titled Deeper Learning in the Primary Years and will include a five week study tour in Australia and to the United States in March/April 2019.

"Locally, I'd like to have a closer look at Australian group, Engineers Without Borders who are looking at humanitarian engineering.

"So moving beyond the basic robotic engineering tasks, which is what you think of when you think of STEM and broadening what we do here at school with the community as well.

 

"I will travel to STEM academy and deeper learning schools in America and see what they do and take away the best bits," she said.

"Then I will use what what was working well at our school and share it with the broader education community as well... so it's state-wide which is exciting."

She said it was exciting to be able to lead the change in how our teachers teach at her school and others across the state.

"We have 19 classes here and nearly 500 kids so it feels great to be able to help teachers become even better and using different ways of teaching to get kids really involved in their learning.," she said.

"This way, the children are not just on the outskirts of the learning looking in, they are learning through experience."

The Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, congratulated the scholarship recipients on their commitment to quality education.

"This scholarship program will help make our best and brightest teachers in the State even better," Ms Berejiklian said.

"It will help teachers prepare their students for their futures in a time of rapid social, economic and technological change." 

The Premier's Teacher Scholarships are open to all NSW teachers from government and non-government schools and preschools, as well as TAFE NSW Institutes, and provide recipients with $10,000 to $15,000 for a five-week study tour.

 

 



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