Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Winning science teacher proves mother knows best


Winning science teacher proves mother knows best

A decision to finally follow his mother’s advice, more than a decade after leaving school and after several successful careers, has won Aucklander Peter Stewart the 2012 Prime Minister’s Science Teacher prize.

The Papatoetoe High School Head of Chemistry rejected his mother’s teaching recommendation and instead worked as a stock broker in London, trained as a chiropractor, running his own business for six years, and supervised a call centre to pay his way through university.

Some of his former stock broker colleagues are earning million-dollar bonuses but Peter has no regrets about his career change. His reward comes from witnessing the improvement in results for students at his decile three South Auckland school, where English is commonly a second language and its catchment has the biggest ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) base in New Zealand.

Chemistry class numbers have increased by 44 percent at level two and more than 100 percent at level three, from just 30 students to more than 70, while the school roll has remained static. Chemistry achievements are outperforming other subject results within the school and students are now regularly studying and earning chemistry scholarships, which hadn’t happened for almost a decade.

Peter has produced workbooks and summaries to help prepare students, particularly ESOL students, for lessons. He has created video tutorials for every Year 12 and 13 chemistry standard, more than 40 assignments and examples for other students and teachers to follow, established innovative uses of the Knowledgenet intranet system, and freely shares his resources and knowledge with other teachers.

Other resources include more than 200 edited documentaries for staff use, resource notes, homework papers and quizzes with links to interactive activities. Peter has also held seminars and science days for primary and intermediate schools, providing resources, demonstrations and experiments.

A programme Peter devised, involving senior Maori and Pacifika students mentoring and tutoring younger students who were selected for their borderline grades, resulted in all six students gaining excellent results in their external examinations.

Students in Peter’s classes get to make solar balloons, water rockets, vortex cannons and parachute launching systems. They also conduct water quality testing as part of a local stream restoration project and often head out into the community to see science in action.

“I enjoy thinking of ways to make science relevant, telling them stories, doing the unexpected and creating a sense of wonder. If they’re excited, curious and engaged in science, they are open to learning.
“The highlight is the success of students. It is such a pivotal time, going through high school and making decisions that set their lives for many years to come. If you get them to see they can achieve, it helps them succeed.

“I’m competitive, I’m project driven, I’m always wanting to do better and I want to find how I can get 100 percent pass rates for students because I want them to see succeed,” says Peter.

Peter joined Papatoetoe in 2005 as a beginning teacher. Principal Peter Gall says the increased number of students studying science through to year 13, their high aspirations and their achievements, are having a positive influence on junior students’ subject choices.

“Peter is an effective, brilliant teacher and has an innovative and inspirational approach to teaching. His work ethic and incredible devotion to his job and his students, and the time he puts into preparing for his students and to promote science in the wider, education community, are remarkable.

“He goes to extraordinary lengths to produce resources. He’s inventive and he incorporates everyday items – there’s not a lot of money involved,” says Mr Gall.

Peter has a Bachelor of Science degree, with a major in chemistry and mathematics, from the University of Auckland, and a teaching qualification from Auckland’s AUT.

Being awarded the Prime Minister’s Science Teacher Prize sees Peter receive $50,000 as reward and recognition for his outstanding teaching and a further $100,000 for his school.
ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Media: Fairfax Moves To Create Modern Newsroom

Fairfax Media New Zealand continues its newsroom transformation this week, with a proposal to further organise its editorial operations into focused, local teams and specialist national topic areas. More>>

ALSO:

Dairy: Fonterra Forecast For 2015/16 Season

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited has today reduced its forecast Farmgate Milk Price for the 2014/15 season to $4.40 per kgMS. Along with its previously announced forecast dividend range of 20-30 cents per share, the change amounts to a forecast ... More>>

ALSO:

BusinessDesk: SkyCity Lifts Minimum Convention Centre Investment To $430M

SkyCity Entertainment Group, the casino operator, has lifted the minimum it will invest in the Auckland International Convention Centre to $430 million and said total costs including land may be $450 million to $470 million. More>>

Statistics: Drop In Dairy Prices Leads Fall In Exports

Total goods exports fell $240 million (5.5 percent) to $4.2 billion in April 2015 compared with April 2014, Statistics New Zealand said today. More>>

BusinessDesk: APN's NZME Sees Future In Paywalls, Growth In Digital Sales

APN News & Media has touted a single newsroom concept for its NZME unit in New Zealand, similar to what Germany's Die Welt uses, saying an 'integrated sales proposition' is helping it win market share, including ... More>>

Labour Party: Global Milk Prices Now Lowest In 6 Years

The latest fall in the global dairy price has brought it to the lowest level in six years and shows there must be meaningful action in tomorrow’s Budget to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Dairy prices ... More>>


BusinessDesk: NZ Inflation Expectations Creep Higher In June Survey

May 19 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand businesses lifted their expectations for inflation over the next two years, sapping any immediate pressure on the Reserve Bank to cut interest rates, and prompting the kiwi dollar to jump higher. More>>

BusinessDesk: Lower Fuel Costs Drive Down NZ Producer Input, Output Prices

May 19 - Producer input and output prices fell in the first quarter, mainly reflecting lower fuel costs and weakness in prices of meat and dairy products. More>>

Media: Fairfax Media NZ Announces Senior Editorial Team

Fairfax Media New Zealand has today confirmed its new editorial leadership team, as part of a transformation of its newsrooms aimed at enhancing local and national journalism across digital and print. More>>

Science: Flavonoids Reduce Cold And Cough Risk

Flavonoids reduce cold and cough risk Research from the University of Auckland shows eating flavonoids – found in green tea, apples, blueberries, cocoa, red wine and onions – can significantly reduce the risk of catching colds and coughs. The research, ... More>>

BusinessDesk: RBNZ House Alert Speech The Catalyst For Government Action

Prime Minister John Key all but conceded that pressure from the Reserve Bank of New Zealand for concerted action on rampant Auckland house prices was one of the main catalysts for the government's weekend announcements about tightly ... More>>

BusinessDesk: How To Fall Foul Of The New Housing Tax Rules: Tips From IRD

Just because you rented out your investment property doesn't absolve you from paying tax, says the Inland Revenue Department in a summary of commonly made mistakes by non-professional property investors when it comes to their tax liability.More>>

Legal: Superdiversity Law, Policy And Business Stocktake Announced

Mai Chen, Managing Partner at Chen Palmer New Zealand Public and Employment Law Specialists and Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Auckland, today announced the establishment ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news