Accolade for a teacher who challenges learning

Zeina Chalich describes herself as a ‘disruptor’, a teacher who takes risks and loves leading change in learning.

Her passion as Leader of Learning and Innovation at St Finbar’s Catholic Primary School Sans Souci has won her the Brother John Taylor Fellowship for 2015 with a $25,000 research grant from the Catholic Education Commission NSW.

Ms Chalich said she will travel to two conferences in the United States to study the latest innovative teaching and resources as part of her academic research into Makerspaces – virtual and physical spaces where students can learn with mentors, experts and the latest ‘edutech’ tools .

Zeina Calich and inaugural recipient Mark Gronow

Zeina Chalich and last year’s inaugural recipient Mark Gronow

“I will also visit the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Lab in Boston and hope to develop my design and thinking skills and connect with like-minded educators,” she said.

“Teachers can’t pretend to know everything but they can facilitate,”

“I have a driving passion for creativity,” said Ms Chalich who has just completed her Master of Education degree in Leadership.

Ms Chalich said she wanted to explore how Catholic schools can use Makerspaces to revamp student-centred teaching to engage learners of all ages in an innovative way.

Mark Gronow, Zeina Calich and Bishop Peter ComensoliSo far, Ms Chalich has held two workshops for 40 schools in the Archdiocese and is a passionate advocate of the “STEAM” curriculum (Science Technology Engineering Art and Mathematics) in identifying creative thinking.

“I want to come back and share my findings with other teachers,” said Ms Chalich.

This year 9 of the 12 applicants for the fellowship were women. Last year, the inaugural recipient was Mark Gronow, Head of Mathematics at Stella Maris Manly, who won the award to improve student engagement with Mathematics.

The Fellowship is awarded to a teacher who has a capacity and passion for research into an issue relevant to Catholic schools.

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