Award for putting girls on right track

Harvey-Waroona Reporter - - NEWS - Bethanie Hi­att

AUSTRALIND res­i­dent and New­ton Moore Se­nior High School teacher Ash­ley Ste­wart has been recog­nised for her work in­spir­ing Abo­rig­i­nal girls to en­joy maths classes.

The school’s maths depart­ment head last week re­ceived the top teach­ing prize awarded by the Aus­tralian Math­e­mat­i­cal Sci­ences In­sti­tute for men­tor­ing girls in maths.

Ms Ste­wart used hands-on projects, such as build­ing a hand­cranked phone charger, to spark the in­ter­est of Year 8 Abo­rig­i­nal girls in math­e­mat­i­cal con­cepts.

Not only did the stu­dents show more in­ter­est in maths, she said, but their be­hav­iour and at­ten- dance lev­els im­proved.

Ms Ste­wart, who stud­ied en­gi­neer­ing be­fore be­com­ing a teacher six years ago, said too many girls started be­liev­ing they were not good at maths at a young age.

“I found there were too few women in en­gi­neer­ing in gen­eral and I was quite both­ered by that, be­cause I didn’t feel sup­ported,” she said.

“And I felt the only way to re­ally get more women in the field was to teach them.”

Ms Ste­wart said she hoped to put the $20,000 prize to­wards buy­ing a com­puter-based pro­gram to help girls de­velop their spa­tial aware­ness.

“The idea is that if we can in­crease that, it can help them vi­su­alise al­ge­braic equa­tions,” she said. Ms Ste­wart said her long-term aim was to im­prove Abo­rig­i­nal stu­dents’ NAPLAN re­sults and make sure they qual­i­fied for high school grad­u­a­tion by pass­ing their On­line Lit­er­acy and Nu­mer­acy As­sess­ment.

“The first step is re­ally get­ting them en­gaged, get­ting them to be­have ap­pro­pri­ately and stay at school, then, once they’re en­gaged we can teach them, keep them here and get them to pass,” she said.

Aus­tralian Math­e­mat­i­cal Sci­ences In­sti­tute schools pro­gram man­ager Ja­nine McIn­tosh said the award recog­nised Ms Ste­wart’s com­mit­ment to fos­ter­ing teacher con­fi­dence and math­e­mat­i­cal suc­cess.

New­ton Moore Se­nior High School stu­dents Lyn­neya Coomer, 13, Ge­or­gia Pep­per, 13, Tia Holt, 13, and An­gel An­der­son, 14, con­grat­u­late head of math­e­mat­ics teacher Ash­ley Ste­wart on her na­tional award.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.