Tala Malaki

  • Graduate Certificate in Primary Science Teaching (Curriculum) (Level 7)

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Keen to develop science leadership in the school, Tala Malaki’s principal suggested the Graduate Certificate in Primary Science Teaching (Curriculum) Level 7 to her. Tala took up the challenge and hasn’t looked back.

‘In the beginning I thought “how is this going to work with everything being online?” But I have found it really enjoyable and am glad I took the leap,’ she says.

The Graduate Certificate in Primary Science Teaching (Curriculum) takes the perspective that science can be fun. It encourages the learning of science by doing science and discusses the effectiveness with which science concepts and principles are embedded into learning experiences. Through the programme practising teachers should become more confident in their science knowledge, and their ability to design and deliver learning experiences that support and inspire students to investigate and understand science knowledge and concepts.

Tala says she enjoys the practical elements of the qualification, ‘I have appreciated for each reading there is sometimes a video or an interactive activity that allows you to practice that skill.’  In particular, Tala has found the units on ‘teacher knowledge’ helpful because it ‘helps to break down the NZ curriculum and tells you what to expect in each age group and what you are trying to develop in the student.’

Distance learning has also suited Tala as she been able to fit her studies around her role as a busy primary teacher.

‘I usually try to spend the first couple of hours after the school day finishes on my studies. This suits me, as I would not of been able to cope with having to travel into town for lectures as well as working full time.’

Tala has a colleague also studying the certificate as well, which she has found ‘hugely beneficial’ as they have been able to keep each other motivated.

‘Although we don’t physically study together, we like to regularly sit and have a laugh about how stressed we are or how absorbed in our science experiments we are. It is also good to have someone else who understands what you’re going through and can help you if you’re in trouble or stuck on an assignment.’

The two were also able put their studies into practical use as they both lead their school in the running and preparation of their science fair. 

Tala says the support she gets from her lecturer has hugely valuable to her, especially when things get tough.

‘The lecturer is really supportive, when it gets full on its great knowing that if I do have a problem I can just email or call him.

‘At one point in my studies I had a difficult time keeping on top of it all when a close family member became ill, I wanted to just throw in the towel because I was tired and I didn’t know how I was going to manage everything I needed to.   My lecturer was really helpful, he offered me any assistance I needed and gave me an extension which got me through.’

Overall, Tala says her studies have given her a fresh outlook on science.

‘I am a lot more confident in how to lead science as a subject and what it would look like in a school setting.’

She also says her studies have helped increase her confidence both personally and professionally.

‘I feel like I can do anything now, my studies have given me a sense of accomplishment and pride and I would encourage anyone considering upskilling to give it a go’


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