Innovative business culture starts in the classroom

Press Release – PM’s Science Prizes

A prize winning science teacher wants greater challenges and risks injected into classroom learning to better prepare students for an innovative, competitive business world.27 October 2011

Innovative business culture starts in the classroom

A prize winning science teacher wants greater challenges and risks injected into classroom learning to better prepare students for an innovative, competitive business world.

Steve Martin, from Auckland’s Howick College, won the 2010 Prime Minister’s Science Teacher Prize. Steve also won the Most Inspiring Individual Award and the People’s Award at this year’s New Zealand Innovators Awards.He says people in business need to be more creative and innovative if New Zealand’s economy is to grow.

“We expect those who move into the business world to automatically have these skills.

“Actually, the process must start in schools with students taking risks in their thinking and not being afraid that mistakes will affect their grades or their popularity. That way, when kids go into business, they will be armed with a structure that encourages them to think innovatively.”

The 42-year-old classroom innovator has authored a new educational resource which provides teachers with an easy-to-follow framework for maximising student achievement in science.

Internationally respected University of Auckland Honorary Professor of Education John Hattie says in the foreword that he is impressed with Martin’s abilities to engage students in the complexities of high school science, and how students of all abilities and dispositions, from naughty to gifted, become turned on to Martin’s passion.

“His success rate in the national assessment system is renowned – not just by enhancing the engaged and effective students who come into his classroom, but also by engaging the dispossessed, the disgruntled, and the disinterested students. This is the true success of a teacher,” writes Professor Hattie.

Martin has a Bachelor of Science (Hons) and a Masters in Education leadership and management. Since being awarded the Prime Minister’s Science Prize, he has been in demand as a spotlight conference speaker, named as a finalist in the New Zealand Innovators Awards for the most inspiring individual, been an honorary professional teaching fellow at the University of Auckland, completed the first of two books and is providing input into a new book by Professor Hattie, and is in line for several high-value research grants.

Martin, who eventually wants to study for a PhD, says winning the Prime Minister’s prize opened up other opportunities for him but he doesn’t want to leave the classroom.

“I want to stay in schools and build a robust model to share with other schools. If I moved away from the classroom it would devalue what I’ve achieved. I need to remain involved if I want to bring about an effective change.”

Howick College received $100,000 as a result of Martin’s win which it has used to buy class sets of netbooks and a range of other IT equipment. Howick now holds Microsoft Pathfinder status as one of 70 of the most innovative schools in the world.

Visit: www.pmscienceprizes.org.nz to find out more about the Prime Minister’s Science Prizes.

ENDS

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