TAFE Western Mudgee College Foundation Skills teacher Berni Aquilina will jet off to Canada tomorrow evening (May 26) for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore the country’s advanced and highly regarded remote teaching techniques.
Ms Aquilina, who won a $15,000 Premier’s Scholarship in July last year to fund the trip, hopes to investigate how basic adult education is delivered to their Aboriginal (Indian) and remote students and explore ways those techniques can be introduced for the betterment of students in rural NSW.
“I am really looking forward to this trip to Canada and the opportunities that it will provide for me to stop in smaller centres and mix it with the locals,” Ms Aquilina said.
“I applied for this scholarship with the hope of bringing back ideas to improve our program delivery for foundation students in our smaller, more remote colleges.
“Then, when I was invited to Parliament House in Sydney to receive my scholarship I realised that any recommendations I make have the chance to be heard at higher levels - so greater change may be more possible than I first thought.
“As the year has progressed, I feel invigorated and think the study tour will provide inspiration and ideas that will be personally beneficial and also helpful to my team, TAFE Western and our communities here.”
Ms Aquilina said the start of her trip will be on the west coast islands of Vancouver and Haida Gwaii (previously known as Queen Charlotte Islands).
“On Haida Gwaii I’m meeting someone who coordinates and teaches on four different Indigenous programs and he’ll show me around his campuses for a couple of days,” she said.
“Then on the weekend I hope to join an Indigenous company’s environmental and cultural 10 hour zodiac trip down to the tip of Haida Gwaii, where remains of old villages with huge totem poles are, and of course hope to see a lot of coastal and marine life along the way.
“Later I head to the interior where another highlight will be spending four days in an intensive Canadian Rockies Great Teacher’s Seminar in Banff, where I’ll be networking with 40 college teachers who aim for excellence in teaching.”
Ms Aquilina has just started a blog of her tour where she will post photos and updates – simply visit https://bernistudytour.wordpress.com/