WIL Leadership Vignette 12:
What was learned from this:
Context of the event, experience or activity:
The University of Western Sydney is a multi-campus university, located in the Greater Western Sydney region. It delivers a wide a wide variety of courses, including the undergraduate degree course, the Bachelor of Science Pathway to Teaching. This course allows students to proceed directly to the master of teaching course after successfully completing their Bachelor of Science course.
Mathematics, Science and Technology Learning through Community Engagement, is a level 2 units offered to students in the Bachelor of Science Pathway to Teaching course. This unit allowed students enrolling in this unit at an early stage in their course at UWS, to be exposed to classroom practices, which involved both resource production and informal instructional activities in both primary and secondary setting.
Description of the event, experience or activity:
Students enrolling in this unit, took part in the Counting On project, which was designed by the New South Wales Department of Education and Training to support the professional development of teachers in identifying and addressing the learning needs of students in mathematics, particularly those students experiencing difficulties in the final years of primary education and the initial years of primary and secondary schools. The schools taking part, were form the South West Sydney Region are required help with the construction of resources, and classroom assistance.
UWS students were required to work (60 hours at times negotiated between UWS student and teachers) with a teacher or group of teachers in a school making classroom resources. The teachers provided guidance and the materials needed. UWS students also assisted the classroom teacher by helping to manage a small group of targeted students while they completed the classroom activity. In addition, students were required to submit a written report on their activities and the response of students involved in the program.
Feedback from the classroom teachers involved was very position. Students found the experience very worthwhile as the experience confirmed their eagerness to continue their course to become mathematics teachers, while for other students the experience caused them to re-think their current career path. In addition to the classroom activities and resource development, students were exposed to how a School operates, the administrative procedures as well as the programming activities of a school department.
Closer relationships with the (then) NSW Department of Education and Training were forged, which has led to further involvement in other projects related to secondary teaching.
Carmel Coady is the Director of Academic Programs, Mathematics and Statistics. This means that she provides academic leadership and strategic direction which includes initiating the development of units that would enhance the structure of the course, ultimately resulting in better industry-ready graduates.