Primary Connections Stage 6 is supported by an Australian Government grant of $3.5 million over four years from 2014 to 2018. The focus is on upskilling 700 primary teachers from regional, rural and remote areas of Australia in inquiry-based science teaching using Primary Connections.
Teachers will undertake a workshop titled ‘One day Introduction to Primary Connections’ and pre-service teachers will undertake two-day training in the ‘PC Ready: Pre-service Teacher Program’. All states and territories, and all sectors of schooling—government, Catholic and independent schools—will be invited to participate, with preference being given to those who are most isolated geographically.
Six workshops for teachers were held in regional Victoria from April to June. These were in Horsham (two), Swan Hill, Mildura, Benalla and Bairnsdale.
The project will also train more than 2,000 pre-service teachers who are in the final years of their degree so they enter the profession confident, competent and ready to teach science.
Following a successful trial of the ‘PC Ready’ program at the University of Canberra in December 2014, the first of the 28 university workshops was hosted by Australian Catholic University (ACU) in Brisbane in May. Eighty students registered within days of the program being announced. A significant number of Indigenous teaching students from Palm Island and Townsville who are part of the ACU Indigenous Teacher Education Program joined the on-campus students and were immersed in the Primary Connections approach to teaching science and literacy.
‘Insightful, invaluable session, condensed yet extensive, I’m much more confident now to teach science—and excited!’
‘My mind has been completely changed! Did not realise how crucial it is so important to let students make mistakes during engage/explore phases.’
‘I learnt more in this workshop than I did throughout the whole science unit, although it was huge and exhausting.’
‘I was given and shown so many resources and ideas. I now know how to effectively teach science using the Primary Connections program. Very useful.’
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