At Excelsia college, our education staff are passionate about the importance of literacy introduction and language development in a child’s early stages. As part of English Language Day on 23 April, Dr Pegah Marandi, Lecturer and Field Education Coordinator and Dr Gideon Boadu, Lecturer and Coordinator (Master of Teaching Program) share their thoughts.
Dr Marandi shares, ‘Literacy introduction and development in early ages can have a lifelong learning impact on a child. This development can start well before the school years. Literacy can elevate children’s experiences of talking, reading, and writing at a very early stage and provide them with a healthier future. Being literate is interwoven with a strong sense of identity and wellbeing, meaning children with stronger reading and writing skills would potentially perform better and thus show more confidence and positive self-image as adults.’
For Dr Boadu, children’s literacy development is foundational in facilitating children’s communication and social competence. ‘The representational affordances of letters, pictures, objects, words, sounds and language help children to navigate their young worlds and develop agency and independence in everyday activities. As adults, we have a role to play in supporting children’s literacy development through intentional communication, collaborative reading and literary play, to scaffold understanding and problem-solving in young children,’ he explains.
If you are passionate about developing the minds of children and young adults, why not consider our Bachelor of Early Childhood Education (Birth to 5), Master of Teaching (Primary) or Master of Teaching (Secondary)?
An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge – Proverbs 18:15
At Excelsia College, our core values are to continually seek knowledge, wisdom, and capability to flourish and contribute to an ever-changing world. Our mission is to transform individuals through Christ-centered education and for the students to transform their workplaces. Excelsia College is excited to see 1029 international students enrolled at our College and take up our courses in education, creative and performing arts, social work, counselling, and business.
Education is important but sadly not everyone has equal access. In Sub-Saharan Africa for example, 32 million primary school aged children remain uneducated, as well as in Central and Eastern Asia and the Pacific where over 27 million children considered illiterate (Humanium, date unknown).
The United Nations General Assembly have declared 24 January as International Day of Education. This year, the focus is on ‘Changing Course and Transforming Education.’ As Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said, ‘Universal education is not only a moral imperative but an economic necessity, to pave the way toward making many more nations self-sufficient and self-sustaining’ (Tutu and Van Roekel, 2010). So why is international education important to us? It is tied to Excelsia’s Christian mission, helping to safeguard our planet and unlock the potential in every one of us. Our educators and teaching staff are committed to helping shape our learning and change the world and help students expand their knowledge and transform their lives, through becoming empowered through the power of education. In turn, this can help to break the poverty cycle, improve their living conditions and those of their families.
Learning doesn’t just happen in a school, university, or workplace context, but also in everyday situations. As Christians, lifelong learning should not be about self-growth, self-satisfaction and self-motivation. Although to a large extent lifelong learning is self-driven, it should not be about ourselves, our own good, benefit and satisfaction, but should be about making change and contribution and transforming the world, making an impact on the world and our community. To be a disciple is to be a learner. Excelsia College is proud to serve the community through running free creative and performing art workshops and masterclasses in creative and performing arts, counselling, and education. Some of those workshops assists HSC students to be better prepared for their exams.
If you feel inspired to change your world or educate future generations, why not explore Excelsia College today? https://excelsia.edu.au/courses/
Humanium. (n.d). Right to Education: Situation around the world. humanium.org/en/right-to-education/
Tutu, D and Van Roekel, D. (2010, April 21). Desmond Tutu: Facing the Future: Global Education at the Crossroads. Global Campaign For Education United States. campaignforeducationusa.org/blog/detail/desmond-tutu-facing-the-future-global-education-at-the-crossroads
Teachers are in a profession that allows them to make a positive and life-changing difference in the lives of children and young adults. If you are interested in exploring a career in early childhood, primary or secondary education, Excelsia College offers a range of bachelor and master courses.
The Bachelor of Early Childhood Education (Birth to 5) is designed to provide graduate early childhood teachers with knowledge, skills and understanding to provide quality early childhood education and care. The Bachelor of Early Childhood Education (Birth to 5) is delivered on campus and is suitable for both domestic and international students. Over four years, students will cover units such as ‘Teaching for Diverse Abilities’, ‘Multicultural and Multilingual Perspective in Early Childhood’ and ‘Leadership, Creativity and Innovation’.
The Master of Teaching (Primary) and the Master of Teaching (Secondary) prepare teacher education students to teach in independent, state and Catholic school systems. When you complete your teacher training at Excelsia College, you gain the teaching qualifications that will fully prepare you for a fulfilling career in education, from working directly with children in the classroom, to developing educational pedagogy. In Master of Teaching (Secondary), students will choose to specialise in their key learning area including creative and performing arts, English, mathematics, science and technology, personal development, health and physical education and human society and its environment.
For those wanting to advance into leadership roles within the education space, looking for the next step in their career or wanting to move from a generalist position to a more specialised role, Excelsia’s Master of Educational Leadership could be suitable. The course will provide teachers with the tools to further transform their classroom and advance into leadership roles in education. During the one-year full-time course, students will study units including ‘Christian Leadership’, ‘Leading Professional Learning Communities’, and they will explore a real-world problem within the field of education in ‘Applied Education Research Project’. Students will graduate ready to teach in religious and non-religious educational environments.
Excelsia’s newest addition, Master of Education Research (STEM) allows postgraduate students to acquire specialist knowledge within their chosen subject field that they can share within their workplace. Over two years full-time, students will develop advanced research skills, specialist knowledge and transferable skills in critical analysis and problem- solving. Students can then go on to pursue a PhD qualification in education and STEM education. In the first year, students study the unit ‘STEM Foundations’ and explore emerging approaches to STEM education through digital technologies. Students explore different ways of thinking and practices such as ‘making’, coding programming, game-based learning, data visualisation and flipped classrooms. In the second semester of Year 1 and for the entire second year, students will undertake an intensive research project in their capstone unit ‘Supervised Research and Thesis Writing’. Their work will help to contribute to the growing field of STEM education.
Lead the way in creating a better tomorrow and explore Excelsia’s education courses today!
Most of us are easily moulded and influenced by our educators throughout our early childhood. Likewise, the unequal distribution of men and women in educational and occupational fields contributes to gender stereotypes that women are a more natural fit in expressive and human-centered careers, and men are better suited to technical and math-intensive fields (Charles & Bradley, 2009). These reinforced behaviours by educators and parents can lead to a lack of opportunities and self-confidence in girls to pursue science and mathematics. It’s not surprising, then, that girls desire to turn their back on doing mathematics by the time they reach Years 5 and 6 (AMSI, 2019; Lavy & Sand, 2018). This is also later reflected in the fact that a quarter of females opt not to study mathematics in their final years of high school (Sedghi, 2015).
Bala and Singhal (2019) note the job prospect implications of women’s neglect of studying higher mathematics, shutting out women from working in the growing fields of STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics. In turn, it can be harder for women to become employable, further exacerbated by the increasing competitiveness of the workplace and uncertain global world challenges (Chesky & Wolfmeyer, 2015). Women make up nearly 50 per cent of the workforce in non-STEM occupations but only 39.7 per cent in science, technology, engineering and mathematics related jobs (DESE, 2019). Excelsia is committed to improving STEM’s gender diversity and inclusion in the emerging fields of science, technology, education, and mathematics, and encourage greater female participation. As Einstein himself noted: ‘The greatest scientists are artists as well’ (Bucksbaum & Gates, 2020).
When a person says they aren’t good at mathematics, it’s their mindset talking, not their ability. Researcher Jo Boaler’s (Stanford Graduate School of Education, n.d) 2018 work explores mathematics and its connection with a growth mindset. Dr Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, has also explored the ‘fixed mindset’ and ‘growth mindset’ theories (Dweck, 2016). Dweck explains that individuals who believe their talents can be developed through hard work, good strategies, and input from others have a growth mindset and tend to achieve more. Comparatively, individuals with a fixed mindset, who believe their talents are innate gifts and can’t be learnt, are more closed off. Like Dweck and Boaler,
Excelsia’s Master of Education Research (STEM) is designed for postgraduate students and international students who are living in Australia. People from non-education backgrounds may benefit from the course, especially if they want to educate within their industry. A scientist, for example, could complete their Master of Research in STEM and use their acquired knowledge to educate their colleagues. Employment is no longer guaranteed so you need to upskill. Getting a master’s where you’ve got an education slant gives you an edge that others don’t have. Labour force data by the Department of Jobs and Small Business revealed a growth of 16.5 per cent in employment in STEM occupations between November 2013 and November 2018. This is 1.6 times higher than the growth rate in non-STEM jobs (DESE, 2019). Furthermore, graduates of STEM areas earn $10,000 per year more than their non-STEM counterparts (Good Education Media, 2016). The OECD Report: Trends Shaping Education: Spotlight 15 (OECD, 2018) for technology notes the growing demand for industrial robots worldwide over the past decade. This is being driven largely by the Asian market, closely followed by the demand for electrical or electronic goods, which all involve STEM.
A STEM education can help to form a strong foundation to engage in global issues such as climate change, advancing medicine, artificial intelligence and how to make education accessible around the world. Thanks to a background in STEM, two app developers are using their knowledge to develop Maqsad, an app that helps make education more accessible to 100 million Pakistani students (Park, 2021). Currently, Pakistan has the world’s second-highest number of out-of-school children, with an estimated 22.8 million children aged 5 to 16 not attending school, representing 44 per cent of the total population in this age group (Unicef, 2021).
Semester 1 of Excelsia’s Master of Education Research (STEM) starts 15 November 2021. For more information on the course, please visit the Excelsia College website. Remember to steam on with STEM!
AMSI. (2019). Gender report 2019 mathematics and gender: Are attitudes and anxieties changing towards mathematics?. [PDF]. Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute. https://amsi.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/gender-report-2019.pdf✎ EditSign
Bala, S., & Singhal, P. (2019). Gender issues in technical and vocational education programs. IGI Global.
Bucksbaum, P. H & Gates Jr., S. J. (2020, December). The back page: The scientist as artist. APS News. https://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/202012/backpage.cfm
Charles, M., & Bradley, K. (2009). Indulging our gendered selves? Sex segregation by field of study in 44 countries. American Journal of Sociology, 114(4), 924–976. https://doi.org/10.1086/595942
Chesky, N., & Wolfmeyer, M. (2015). Philosophy of STEM education: A critical investigation. Palgrave Macmillan.
DESE. (2019). STEM jobs are growing faster than other jobs. Department of Education, Skills and Employment. https://www.dese.gov.au/newsroom/articles/stem-jobs-are-growing-faster-other-jobs
Dweck, C. (2016). What having a growth mindset actually means. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2016/01/what-having-a-growth-mindset-actually-means
Good Education Media (2016, May 10). Stem studies: Top marks for employment and salary. Good education. https://www.goodeducation.com.au/introducing-the-good-careers-guide/
Lavy, V., & Sand, E. (2018). On the origins of gender gaps in human capital: Short- and long-term consequences of teachers’ biases. Journal of Public Economics, 167, 263–279.
Mah, K., Chutiyami, M., Zhang, L., & Nicoll, S. (2020). Online teaching self-efficacy during COVID-19: Changes, its associated factors and moderators. Education and Information Technologies. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-021-10486-3
Mah. K., Chutiyami, M. & Nicoll. S. (2021). Transitioning into the first year of teaching: Changes and sources of teacher self-efficacy. The Australian Educator Researcher. DOI: 10.1007/s13384-021-00481-5
Nicoll, S. (2012). Making a difference to professional experience: Giving and getting back. Full refereed paper for AARE-WERA Annual Conference 2012, Sydney, Australia.
Nicoll, S. (2021). Learning to engage students in learning during professional experience. [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. Macquarie University.
OECD. (2018). Spotlight 15: A brave new world: Technology and education. [PDF]. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. https://www.oecd.org/education/ceri/Spotlight-15-A-Brave-New-World-Technology-and-Education.pdf✎ EditSign
Park, K. (2021, September 20). Pakistan edtech startup Maqsad gets $2.1M pre-seed to make education more accessible. TechCrunch. https://techcrunch.com/2021/09/19/pakistan-edtech-startup-maqsad-gets-2-1-m-pre-seed-to-make-education-more-accessible/
Sedghi, S. (2015, March 6). Girls opt out of science and maths studies, report finds; fears for career prospects in growing industries. ABC News. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-03-06/girls-opt-out-of-science-and-maths-studies,-report-finds/6286362
Stanford Graduate School of Education, (n.d). Jo Boaler. https://ed.stanford.edu/faculty/joboaler
Stroud, G. (2017, February 6). Why do teachers leave?. ABC News. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-02-04/why-do-teachers-leave/8234054
Unicef. (2021). Pakistan education. Unicef. https://www.unicef.org/pakistan/educatio
World Teachers’ Day is Friday 29 October and a day where we thank our educators at Excelsia College and across Australia for their tireless efforts in supporting students. The added layer of complexity with teaching online should not go unrecognised during the pandemic. Teachers play a fundamental role in shaping minds and have the potential to encourage more students to become passionate educators. Sadly, a Sydney Morning Herald article (Baker, 2021) has highlighted the nationwide shortage of teachers. As the article notes according to confidential NSW Department of Education documents, Australia could be running out of teachers within the next five years.
By 2024, approximately 28 per cent of Department of Education teachers are predicted to be ready for retirement, whilst 5 per cent leave to pursue other professions. And while there is an increase in school enrolments, there has been a sharp decline in students signing up for university education degrees (Baker, 2021). As school enrolment rates increase, an estimated 11,000 teachers are required to break enrolment growth even over the next decade (Baker, 2021).
NSW Government is addressing these concerns by injecting $124.8 million over the next four years to a teacher supply strategy (Baker, 2021). The aim is to recruit an extra 4,600 teachers over this time frame. This will increase incentives for teachers to work in regional areas, make mid-career moves to teaching easier, and source STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) teachers from overseas.
Teachers are highly sought after and play such a vital role in childhood development. Are you passionate about educating the future generation or feeling like a career change? It’s never too late to consider teaching. Excelsia College offers a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education, Master of Teaching (Primary), Master of Teaching (Secondary) and Master of Education Research (STEM).
Which teacher can you say thank you to today?
Baker, J. (2021). Public school teacher shortages raise fears they will run out of teachers. Sydney Morning Herald. https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/public-school-teacher-shortage-raises-fears-they-will-run-out-of-teachers-20211003-p58wtq.html