Switching teachers – and students – on to being curious learners has been a lifetime passion for teacher educator and former head teacher Dr Jane Hunter.
Now that thirst has earned her a prestigious accolade from her peers.
Dr Hunter, from the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), has won a 2017 Australian Teacher Education Association Early Career Researcher award. She received her prize at the association’s annual conference in Brisbane on July 6.
The strength and quality of Dr Hunter’s nomination, which argued the case for High Possibility Classrooms that harness ideas for innovative teaching strategies and student learning processes, impressed the judging panel at the Australian Teacher Education Association (ATEA), as did the high quality, wide recognition and impact of her research publications.
“I came to my work in teacher education in universities with the belief that great teaching matters and with a conviction that learning in teacher education is lifelong,” Dr Hunter said.
The teaching profession needs to be supported by national advocates who are committed to strengthening teacher education in universities, and who can form robust links with individuals and organisations involved in education change in schools, she said.
“That might mean finding ways for teacher educators to spend time in school classrooms – perhaps a couple of weeks each year – to feel their pulse.”
Earlier this year, Dr Hunter was a NSW finalist in the international FameLab science communications competition, sponsored by the British Council. Her three-minute talk explored the importance of building teacher capacity and confidence in teaching the STEM disciplines using the High Possibility Classrooms framework.
“Boosting teacher self-efficacy, agency and leadership, as well as better resourcing teacher professional learning in the science, technology, engineering and maths disciplines will make the difference,” she said.