Dr Jennifer Bannan
Kirwan State High School
Biochemist Dr Jennifer Bannan, who is providing powerful real-world lessons for Townsville students, is a finalist in prestigious state teaching awards.
Dr Bannan established a STEM program at Kirwan State High School (KSHS) in which senior students mentor junior pupils in robotics, programming, experiments and data collection, to design solutions to real-world challenges.
The KSHS STEM Coordinator has also collaborated with external organisations, such as the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy, to show students how aerodynamics, engineering, mining and environmental sustainability is “applied in real life”.
Last year, Dr Bannan was awarded the North Queensland Regional Secondary Principals’ Prize for being the highest graduating education student at the Townsville James Cook University campus, where she is now a guest presenter.
Today, she has been announced as a finalist in the Queensland College of Teachers (QCT) Excellence in Beginning to Teach Award. Dr Bannan will be flown to Brisbane for the awards ceremony on 27 October, when Queensland celebrates World Teachers’ Day.
Dr Bannan said her Biochemistry PhD in medical research helped her link lessons to real-world situations.
“I personalise their learning by providing clear examples that relate to everyday life, in a variety of hands-on, interactive ways. I also highlight the key discoveries made by scientists; and then of course, I think the most important thing is enabling them to think and work like a scientist using the scientific method. This allows them to develop the critical thinking and growth mindset necessary for lifelong learning,” Dr Bannan said.
“Some students have just never really thought of Science as relevant to their everyday life, so I really make it accessible for them. I want them to understand and enjoy Science, and see the opportunities available to them in their future.”
This year Dr Bannan is leading KSHS’s Year 10 Science team and is delivering a new global citizenship subject – Human Technologies, which teaches skills needed for the 21st century.
Her students’ results are exceptional. Just over 80 per cent of her Year 7 Science class attained VHAs in Semester 1 this year. About half of her Science, Research and Technology (SRT) Year 10 students, and her Year 7 Human Technologies class also achieved VHAs.
“I enjoy being in the classroom and seeing my students not only understand science concepts, but develop into confident, independent young adults. Seeing them thrive has been really rewarding.” Dr Bannan said.
Congratulations Dr Bannan on being a finalist.