Dianne Christenson is the lead teacher for science at Koraunui Primary School in Stokes Valley where she teaches a Year 3–5 class. In 2018 she was selected for the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Programme and in early 2019 traveled to Syracuse University in New York for the four-month professional development programme.
Dianne describes her time spent in the US as ‘an unbelievable experience’. She recently spoke to the EdGazette about the experience. Read the full article printed in issue 19, or online here.
“I visited three schools where their complete learning was based on locally based projects. It was so different from what many schools do in New Zealand,” she says.
The professional development programme introduced Dianne to new concepts in teaching science and writing and she was able to work with a fellow Fulbright recipient, Ranielle Miranda-Navarro from the Philippines.
Ambitious Science is a science teaching framework she learnt about which emphasises project-based learning and provides a way to scaffold writing about science while looking at big science ideas to engage children.
“In our classroom, we started to develop a model. We do an experiment and we talk about the kids’ ideas; you put up everybody’s ideas, which builds equity as everybody feels their ideas are valued. Then you move on to do additional experiments that are going to draw out the things you want to learn. It builds vocabulary and oral language brilliantly – it’s about integration – linking reading and writing with science,” she says.
Read the full EdGazette article online.
The Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Programme is for highly accomplished New Zealand teachers in primary or secondary schooling to participate in an intensive professional development programme in the US. Two awards are granted each year for this programme.
The recipients of the 2019 Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Programme for NZ Teachers will travel to the US in January 2020. The 2019 award recipients are Michelle Ballard, Deputy Principal at Mount Maunganui College, and Dr Susan Peoples, Head of Sciences at Fiordland College.
Applications for the 2020 awards are open now! Apply by 15 March 2020. Find out more here.
Feature photo by Mark Tantrum.