Teacher of the month
Dr Sandra Herbert
Sandra Herbert is a recent arrival at Deakin, teaching mathematics and science education at Warrnambool since 2010. She has previously taught mathematics, mathematics education, statistics and information technology at Ballarat University, and ACU.
In the time she has been at Deakin she has been very active in initiating innovation linking with a variety of community groups in Warrnambool, in particular local schools. Her work as a CSIRO Mathematician in Schools led to her involvement in revitalising the teaching of numeracy in local primary schools through relationships with numeracy coaches, representatives of the Mathematical Association of Victoria and school-based peer learning teams.
Her work has been recognised in a number of articles in the Warrnambool/ Port Fairy press, on an innovative school based unit involving Deakin students teaching science to small groups of primary school children each week, and another initiative linking with Port Fairy consolidated school, this time with Deakin students involved in supporting a school's Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program.
Her current research is investigating the effectiveness of a mentoring program, partnered with a local secondary school, in encouraging low SES regional secondary students to aspire to university study. These school partnership teaching models are consistent with Sandra's commitment to equity and social justice, and in the last 18 months she has forged many links between Deakin and local community organisations.
She is a teacher who works at being available to students, with an open door policy to meet the just-in-time learning needs of her students. Sandra provides online, real-time support for students on teaching rounds utilising the affordances of eLive!, a web conferencing program.
She champions active models of learning, encouraging students to experiment with technology and explore the added dimension it can give a teacher in engaging students. In 2010 she conducted a series of Professional Conversations about Technology in Teaching with guest speakers from Deakin and the University of Ballarat. The sessions looked at the practical aspects of using the technology and the implications and opportunities for the teaching profession. Sandra is involved in the Teachers of the Future project seeking effective ways to embed and model the pedagogical use of technology in teaching science.
In early 2011 she was recruited as an external expert to review the Honours program of the Graduate School of Information Technology and Mathematical Sciences at the University of Ballarat.
Sandra also organises the Global Experience Program to Thailand. Following a successful visit in 2010 with 8 students, in 2011 she will take a group of 15 Education students to gain teaching experience in a large Thai school in Chiang Mai.