AMAZING OPPORTUNITY: TAFE Western teacher Berni Aquilina (middle) accepts her scholarship from Secretary of NSW Department of Education Michele Bruniges and Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli.
TAFE Western Mudgee College teacher Berni Aquilina will use a $15,000 Premier’s Teacher Scholarship she received on Saturday to travel abroad for important study that she hopes will lead to better delivery of fundamental skills to remote and Indigenous learners in NSW.
A thrilled Ms Aquilina was one of 19 recipients of a scholarship and will visit Canada for five weeks in 2016 to investigate how adult basic education is delivered to their Aboriginal (Indian) and remote students using technology in effective and culturally appropriate ways.
“I've chosen Canada as it's similar to Australia in terms of size, remoteness and levels of literacy, yet Canada is narrowing its educational gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations, while in Australia the educational gap has widened slightly - I’d like to see what they are doing right,” she said.
“Of course the chance for a trip abroad is wonderful, but as I reflect on this opportunity I think the really valuable thing is the chance to focus on our quality of teaching and to re-energise and bring back fresh ideas.
“Relationship is at the heart of learning so I want to find ways to blend delivery so it feels personal while utilising technology to provide a quality and inclusive learning experience to pre-vocational learners in remote communities.
“I'm over the moon about winning this award and can still hardly believe I've won it.”
NSW Premier Mike Baird personally congratulated Ms Aquilina for receiving the 2015 Premier’s Samsung Technology in Rural and Remote Schools Scholarship.
“This program is about helping to make the best teachers in NSW even better,” Mr Baird said in his congratulatory letter.
“You now have a truly unique opportunity to undertake an international study tour and visit some of the world’s most innovative schools and centres for education.
“I encourage you to be open to new ideas and new ways of doing things, be inspired and look for ways to further inspire your students and colleagues.”
For further details about the NSW Premier’s Teacher Scholarships and the recipients visit www.teach.nsw.edu.au/premiersscholarships