Kylee Townsend in the classroom.
Kylee Townsend is a ‘Middle School Science Specialist’ – a pretty cool title in our opinion. And she’s a teacher finalist in the BHP Foundation Science and Engineering Awards.
She teaches to show the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and its impact on human lives.
Engaging our future scientists
Kylee is passionate about engaging students in STEM careers. She works at Hazel Glen College in Melbourne’s North, where she has spent the past four years teaching STEM.
Kylee said the ‘backbone’ to her STEM teaching is using technology to expand maths and science lessons. She also focusses on an inquiry-based model. This involves posing questions, problems or scenarios to the students and helping them find the answers themselves.
“I aim to support students to practise solving real problems. As well as using the basic skills and concepts they have already been taught,” Kylee said.
Kylee creates an interactive environment and enables her students to explore and experience what scientists are working on.
“We cannot forget the goal of STEM is to enhance and value the importance of future engineers and scientists in a real-world context,” Kylee said.
Kylee believes the best teaching approach for STEM learning is the problem-based learning (PBL) method. Many primary school teachers use this approach too. PBL enables students to learn through complex and open-ended inquiry problems.
“STEM promotes critical thinking, problem-solving, and behavioural competencies such as persistence, flexibility, collaboration, organisation and responsibility,” Kylee said.
For Kylee, using this teaching method has also helped her recognise her teaching strengths. It also highlights the barriers preventing teachers from improving their competency and confidence in the classroom.
Collaboration – the perfect formula
Kylee believes educators need the space to collaborate, plan, learn and share, to improve their integrated STEM units.
“It is imperative to showcase teachers who are exemplars of best teaching practices in STEM. This shows other teachers how diverse topics are in STEM fields and the opportunities for students,” Kylee said.
We congratulate Kylee and all teachers recognised. Their flexibility and commitment to educating our future scientists is remarkable.
Read more on another project we’re working on to support next-gen STEM.