Primary Connections empowers teachers and supports STEM learning

March 31, 2021
A male and a female adults working together to create something from tape and other simple materials
The teachers were given hands-on experiences in best practice approaches to support STEM learning in primary school.

The Academy’s Primary Connections team has collaborated with the Invergowrie Foundation to develop a professional learning program for teachers. The foundation is focused on advancing education for girls and women in Victoria.

The program is designed to build confidence and effectiveness for teaching guided inquiry, and provides teachers with hands-on experiences in best practice approaches that deliver long-term learning and supports student aspirations in STEM learning, with an emphasis on increasing participation of girls in primary school years.

The professional learning program for 29 Victorian teachers from 16 independent schools began in February last year with a two-day workshop, but was then interrupted by restrictions due to COVID-19. As restrictions eased in early 2021, Primary Connections facilitated a webinar to reconnect with participants and hear about their specific needs and interests. It then held a second face-to-face workshop where the 29 teachers participated in energising and thought-provoking professional learning, tailored to their needs. The workshops provided participants time to explore and consider several approaches and theoretical frameworks for STEM education.

Data collected throughout the workshop showed an increase in the teachers’ self-perceived confidence to teach STEM. Post-workshop surveys indicate participants were extremely satisfied with the program, and Primary Connections will continue to facilitate the teachers’ participation via an online community of practice.

What an amazing four days of professional learning! The presenters were highly engaging and responsive to the learning needs of our group. We were presented with hands-on experiences to take back to our classrooms and information on the importance of STEM education to share with our colleagues at school. I feel confident to teach STEM and incorporate it successfully in my classroom program.

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