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Teachers sought as next leaders in science education

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The Science Teaching Leadership Programme has opened its doors for 2019 and 2020, with schools and kura being encouraged to nominate teachers and kaiako as leaders to enhance science learning in their community.

The Science Teaching Leadership Programme (STLP) is a unique initiative bolstered by government funding that enables teachers and kaiako to upskill in leadership as well as teaching science.

Teachers/kaiako can be nominated by either primary or intermediate schools/kura or secondary schools' science departments. The nominated teachers do not need to be experienced in leadership (or science for primary or intermediate teachers) but the nominating kura/school must be committed to prioritising science as a key focus area for professional learning.

The closing time for this application round is 11:59PM, Monday 3 September 2018.

Successful kaiako/teachers will undergo six months of activities, including a week of immersive leadership training and a placement at a scientific organisation. On returning to school, the teachers/kaiako work with others to improve science teaching and student learning, such as forging links with local science organisations and groups to enhance scientific experiences for students.

Teacher Joan Makisi measuring Hihi eggs at Zealandia

"I've especially enjoyed my placement at Zealandia," says Joan Makisi, who teaches at Avalon Intermediate. "I'm interested in plants and animals, so it was great to learn more about the science behind that, and also about how to use pest control to protect our native wildlife against predators."

"I've now got a much better understanding of the nature of science and I've gained a lot more confidence that I can teach science."

STLP coordinators Jenn Corbitt and Janine Bidmead at Royal Society Te Apārangi (external link) say that the focus on leadership is what makes teachers' newly acquired skills benefit the whole school.

"If a school invests in developing confident and capable science leaders, the school is more likely to implement high quality science programmes that engage students and contribute to their achievement in science," Janine explains. "This makes the learning sustainable because the science leader keeps the momentum going."

Jenn adds, "Some teachers have even gone on to lead or take part in other Curious Minds projects that go beyond schools and involve the wider community - and that's just fantastic to see."

Find out how to apply (external link)

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