There are also teachers’ programs organised by Geoscience Australia. Geoscience Australia understands that teachers play a major role in the knowledge transfer and training better teachers is one of the ways to ensure a better experience for students learning about earth sciences and other related fields. Geoscience Australia hosts several earth science-related events and programs for teachers. All these initiatives focus on giving teachers the knowledge and skills needed to teach geoscience topics that are in the Australian National Curriculum and extra efforts are placed on engaging girls in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
Teaching Primary Earth Science
This is a program that trains teachers on how best to teach their students about earth sciences. Teaching school students require special expertise and training and given the complexities of earth sciences, and it is necessary to simplify it in such a way that it would be easy for these children to understand. Sessions are also held in Western Australia, and videos of the professional learning sessions will also be recorded and made available. This is what this program seeks to achieve. There are two sessions which include:
Session 1 (middle primary)
This session focuses on the changes in the Earth’s surface over time due to human activities and natural processes. It is a comprehensive session that gives teachers the understanding and skills they need to teach their students about earth sciences. Activities in this session emphasise practical investigation of erosion and weathering processes to see how the changes happen in gradual and sometimes, invisible processes.
Session 2 (upper primary)
This session focuses on training teachers on unexpected weather events and geological changes that can have significant impacts on the earth surface. It focuses primarily on geographical hazards and several activities that teachers can do with their students. By demonstrating these activities to the teachers, they learn how to deal with students and teach them about earth sciences and creative and fun manners. By using simple exercises, all the complex information and technical terms can be simplified for the students, and this will aid the learning process and make it easier for both students and teachers.
Teacher Earth Science Education Programme (TESEP)
This is a program that organises professional learning sessions for teachers all over the country. Apart from the fact that it offers sessions for each state, some webinars sessions are open to teachers all over Australia.
TESEP offers all kinds of resources on its platforms. There are various teaching resources that will help teachers improve their teaching of earth sciences. Such resources include
The Poster of Plate Tectonics – Teachers who attend the PD9 workshops will collect several hard copy resources including a laminated poster of the plate tectonic which can be used to teach students about the rock cycle in a way that would be easier to understand.
Rock Kits – Teachers can also get a rock kit set that has sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks. All the rocks in this set are genuine and labelled so that they can be easily used for demonstration. They are also big enough to hold in your hand with easy to see features. There is a box for each type of rock, and they are perfect for teaching year 8-9 students about rocks. Each rock kit comes with stories about the rocks, their formation, questions and answer materials, and can get a virtual 3D version online as well as virtual thin sections that let you see what is inside. There is also a rock kit download available for registration for users.
The programs are also organised in different states and territories. Each state and territory has their set programs, and teachers in those states can participate in different sessions available in their states. We encourage teachers to check for programs available in their states and find a way to take part in the programs. However, there are Australian-wide webinars that are open to everyone, and you can easily register online and attend from the comfort of your home.
Teachers also have access to case studies using various examples generated from all over Australia. These case studies will help Australian teachers to teach in line with the new curriculum and provide adequate information for their students even without using the textbooks.
Public Talks and Events
Geoscience Australia hosts several public talks meant for either general or technical audiences and delivered by experts in various fields. Teachers can attend these talks to gain insight into what science is all about and learn more about the subfields as well. Some of these talks are even filmed and posted online, which allow students to access the talks from any location in Australia. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, all talks and presentations are done through online webinars.
There are also public events that are usually open to everyone, and teachers can attend these events. Such public events include National Science Week, Earth Science Week, Exploring for the Future Stakeholder Industry Workshops, etc.