Mabel Park High School
In Empowering Educators, inspiring Aussie teachers share how they build and nurture entrepreneurial mindsets in their classrooms. Here we ask Stacey King, Mabel Park SHS‘s Head of Maths & Science, about her inspiration and how she creates creating authentic and connected learning experiences.
Q1: Give us three words that describe your life as an educator.
Inspirer. Change-maker. Connector.
Q2: What’s one of the best learning experiences you’ve ever delivered?
One of the projects I have worked with my ENABLE STEM colleagues on was the “STEAM into STEM” event last year (it was supposed to be an annual event but we will see what 2021 brings…).
Its focus was on deep learning projects on the theme “Sustainability in Logan” across the Logan schools. We also provided professional development/support for teachers to assist in changing the mindsets of how STEM was delivered in curriculum time, in core subjects.
One area I am particularly passionate about is linking learning to real-life social issues or enterprise, such as this project did. A site that has many good ideas is Cool Australia.
Q3: What’s one book, website or podcast you’d recommend to educators keen to build the entrepreneurial mindsets of their students?
To quote Barack Obama, “The truth is, actually, words do inspire. Words do help people get involved … Don’t discount that power”. So, I have tried to always make time to learn from others and read (or listen) as widely as time permits.
Firstly, my initial interactions with the idea of creativity in schools came from Sir Ken Robinson’s TED Talk, “Do schools kill creativity?” (and yes, they can!). This shaped my view that creativity and maths/science education were a perfect match.
So, I was inspired to begin a journey to change the experiences of ALL those students sitting in classes every day, every year wondering, “what is the point?”. In no way do I believe that the job is ever ‘done’.
Furthermore, I have kept the passion of being ‘inspired by words’ from reading about female pioneers of STEM education such as Logan’s own Yassmin Abdel-Magied (who is even more motivational in real-life) and scientist, Joanne Berger-Sweeney, who has supported programs in the USA like “Girls Can Do It””.
Lastly, a book that outlines how to make change happen is “The Innovator’s Mindset” by George Couros. Usually books talk about innovation and creativity without an educational context. This does! It has extra readings after each chapter, so it is easy to follow up on ideas that have piqued your interest.
Meet this week’s Empowering Educator, Stacey King.
Stacey is Head of Maths and Science at Mabel Park State High School. She told us ‘I tried many professions before, during and after university and just never felt that I had found my ‘tribe’. I went back to study education and completed all my pre-service experiences in Logan state schools. I knew then, I had found what I was looking for – vibrancy, diversity, challenge, connection, purpose. I love it so much, I also live in Logan (and very proud of that too). This is my 20th year of teaching and I have been Head of Department of Maths and Science at Mabel Park State High School for about 12 years. I have an amazing team of teachers and support staff and have the privilege of mentoring many early careers’ teachers. For many years I have been passionate about finding ways to engage younger students into STEM subjects. As such, I currently teach junior mathematics and have even taught science classes at a local primary school, as part of the Primary School Science Partnership I created. I lead a team for programs such as the MSA (Maths Science Academy), GEMS (Girls Excelling in Maths and Science) – check out ‘Number 19’ in this article by Jim Chalmers, MP for Rankin. I am the co-chair of the ENABLE STEM network, a coalition of 14 Logan High Schools. I am humbled to have received a National Maths Education award in 2016 for my work in girls’ STEM education.’
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