ENCOURAGING MATHS AND SCIENCE TEACHING AT PRIMARY SCHOOL

AS part of a program to encourage more students to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects, primary school teachers can now opt to take on more science and mathematics courses during their training.

 

The move to help trainee primary teachers to specialise in STEM subjects by providing specialist courses at three NSW universities has been welcomed by Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall.

 

“The demand for graduates with STEM capabilities is increasing as we use technology to solve more of our challenges, and find new ways of doing things,” Mr Marshall said.

 

“By giving primary teachers more skills in these areas, they are better able to inspire confidence and interest in their students, who will hopefully then take those interests through to high school.

 

“Employers want workers that are skilled in maths and science, so we want to give our students the confidence to study these subjects at their highest possible level.”

 

Primary teachers are currently trained as generalists in a range of subjects. From this year, in a NSW first, teaching students from at least three NSW universities can become STEM specialists by electing to study additional maths and science courses.

 

The new primary teaching course requirements were developed by the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES) in consultation with teachers, teacher educators and the education sector.

 

“The first group of graduates with a specialisation in maths and science will be eligible to teach in NSW schools from the end of 2017,” Mr Marshall said.

 

The state government is also rolling out 16 new resources to help improve the teaching of STEM subjects in schools across the state.

 

The resources include:

  • Seven new STEM lesson units for K-12, including a ‘coding’ unit which teaches students to use code to choreograph dance and movement;
  • Eight new Science and Technology activities for K-6, including “Game Plan” where students design, build and test a game based on electrical circuits; and
  • A guide to support the use of coding as a teaching tool to solve problems within existing subjects.

 

The government is also investing $20 million during this term of Parliament to upgrade 50 science labs in NSW public schools.

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