An Australian Maths teacher has been included in the top 50 shortlist for the Varkey Foundation’s US $1 million Global Teacher Prize 2020 in partnership with UNESCO.
Ashley Stewart from Newton Moore Senior High School, a government school in Bunbury, Western Australia was selected for the shortlist of 50 from over 12,000 nominations and applications from over 140 countries across the world.
The aim of Global Teacher Prize is to recognise one exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession as well as to shine a spotlight on the important role teachers play in society.
Newton Moore Senior High School has a 20 per cent Indigenous population. Ms Stewart’s work focuses on removing the gender gap in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) by boosting girls’ uptake, engagement and achievement.
To help students overcome obstacles to achievement she has focused on upskilling other staff, promoted the introduction of STEM programs for Aboriginal girls, created a spatial training program, and founded an inventors’ club.
Lower performing students have made huge gains, and staff have seen higher levels of engagement and fewer behavioural issues. As a result, larger numbers of students are taking higher-level mathematics subjects, with enrolments doubling in 2020.
Ms Stewart has also fielded teams in the International Mathematical Modelling Challenge and, working on the school’s Networking committee, has created partnerships with other Australian schools, the Singapore Chinese Girls School in Singapore, and the Engineering department at a nearby university. She runs learning sessions for parents to better help their children with maths, and collaborates with teachers at feeder primary schools, running workshops that help them integrate topics such as Lego Robotics into classroom learning.
With ten years to go to meet UN Sustainable Development Goal 4 – providing a quality education for every child – the Global Teacher Prize has partnered with UNESCO.
“Every child in the world deserves an inspiring teacher and inspiring teachers deserve wide social recognition. As we enter what must be a “decade of action” on education we have partnered with the Global Teacher Prize because it is such a powerful advocate for the critical role teachers play in our societies. Now, more than ever, in a world of competing priorities, governments throughout the world must invest in teachers to meet their commitments to deliver universal quality education by 2030,” said Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director General for Education at UNESCO.
The top 50 shortlist has representatives from 37 countries and by highlighting their stories the Varkey Foundation hopes that the public will be able to join in passionate debates about the importance of teachers. The winner will be announced live on stage at a red carpet ceremony taking place at the Natural History Museum in London on Monday 12 October 2020.
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