Posted on 29 October 2015
Teachers making use of the Hutt City Mayoral Scholarship for the Open Polytechnic’s Graduate Certificate in Primary Science Teaching are not only improving their teaching of science, but have been able to purchase supplies for their classrooms that made a difference to their students’ learning.
The $2,500 Mayoral Scholarship is available to each Lower Hutt primary school that has a teacher enrolled in the Graduate Certificate in Primary Science Teaching (Curriculum) through Open Polytechnic, and can be used for the reimbursement of teacher course fees, teacher release time or science resources, in support of the teacher doing the qualification.
Lower Hutt teachers, Jo Hawthorne from Wellesley College and Eileen Falconer from Boulcott School, who have both completed the qualification, said their students have benefitted from the supplies their schools were able to purchase as a result of the scholarship.
“We were able to buy good microscopes,” says Jo.
Eileen says her school used the scholarship to cover release days for her to study, study equipment, fees to join the new Hutt City Science Centre that Hutt City Council has set up so that the school can borrow lots of kits, as well as resources for science club activities that Eileen runs through the school during lunch times.
In response to the need to encourage more young people to study science, the Open Polytechnic has made their Graduate Certificate in Primary Science Teaching (Curriculum) fee free.
The qualification is designed to build the confidence of teachers to teach science, and is taught online so that teachers can immediately use what they are learning in their own classrooms.
Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace says, “Council is focussed on helping our young people reach their full potential, and a good education is vital to this. We are really pleased to be working in partnership with the Open Polytechnic to provide this Mayoral Scholarship in science teaching for some of the fantastic primary teachers we have here in Lower Hutt.”
“Science and technology is a really important sector for Lower Hutt - with a great future that we want our young people to be part of.”
Jo says that completing the certificate has not only given her confidence in her ability to teach science but has also given her ideas for interesting activities to encourage her students to be curious and take an active interest in the world around them.
“The courses looked at concepts that primary age children should be exposed to. Information was clearly presented and easy to understand and I know my own science understanding increased as a result of completing the certificate,” she says.
Eileen agrees, adding that the readings and assessments that formed part of the study material were helpful and easy to follow, taking away the fear of science.
“I found the websites that we were directed to through the readings very helpful. I found the multi-choice assessment great as they made you stop and think about where certain information really belonged and at what level. I also enjoyed reading about what other students completing the certificate were doing for their practical assignments as these gave me ideas of more possible things to try. The links within readings also extended my thinking,” says Eileen.
“It is an excellent qualification that is constantly evolving. It is well written, lecturers are there to help you, and through the online forums your fellow students share and give ideas and you will realise that science is not a subject to be scared of.”
Eileen is now considering completing the Open Polytechnic’s Graduate Certificate in Primary Mathematics Teaching (Curriculum).
Both qualifications are currently offered fee-free at the Open Polytechnic.
“The best thing about distance study is having the choice when to study. I didn’t need to work around timetables or childcare. Instead of making my life fit into my study, with the Open Polytechnic courses you fit the study around your life,” says Eileen.