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Gippsland teachers getting plenty of fibre

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A series of free professional development events across Gippsland will give teachers there the ability to incorporate ‘food and fibre’ concepts in class.

GIPPYAg, a unique project which aims to link schools, teachers and industry across Gippsland to improve knowledge and appreciation for local food and fibre industries, will build the capacity of primary and secondary teachers to introduce hands-on STEM learning experiences about the science and technology used in agriculture and horticulture.

The free teacher professional development opportunity is open to primary and secondary teachers interested in incorporating food and fibre concepts into their teaching practice and classrooms.

It will provide resources which can be used in the classroom about non-invasive fruit testing, digital farm mapping and satellite imagery.

Delivered by Food & Fibre Gippsland and CQUniversity Australia, with support from the Victorian Government, this is an excellent opportunity for educators to learn more about the local $7 billion agriculture and horticulture sector.

“Teachers will be able to link the knowledge obtained through the opportunity about agriculture and horticulture to multiple subjects, including science, biology, chemistry, agriculture, design, food technology and digital tech,” says CQUniversity Research Fellow Dr Amy Cosby, who will deliver the PD.

Cosby, who heads up the GIPPYAg project, believes the PD will give teachers a new level of confidence to incorporate food & fibre into their classrooms, giving their students a deeper and better understanding of the sector that generates $7 billion of Gippsland’s $16 billion gross regional product, and that has been identified by governments and stakeholders as a priority future industry.

“It’s vital for the next generation of Gippslanders to be more aware of the food and fibre sector, so we plan to convey easy and achievable lesson plans with resources ready to implement, whilst teachers undertake PD which is aligned to the AITSL Teaching Standards.

“There hasn’t been a lot of teacher professional development opportunities in the region for a long time, so if we want young people to learn, know and understand how important food and fibre is to Gippsland, we need to give teachers the confidence and the skills to teach this type of content.“

With the PD program also incorporating the ongoing support of an industry panel, there will be a local knowledge base for the teachers to call on, if and when the need arises.   

“We recognise the importance of having resources and knowledge delivered in a workshop, but to have industry panels in the region with representatives from the local agriculture and horticulture industries involved is a strategic long term move to keep the education and awareness alive well beyond a PD Day,” Cosby says.

“The concept off food and fibre can fit into a range of disciplines in the classroom, so even if teachers are not specifically teaching agriculture at their school, they will still get a lot of benefit and learnings out of participating in this professional development day,” she says.

There are a number of Free PD events across Gippsland in the final term of the 2019 school year.

Each event will run from 9.30 am to 3pm, are scheduled for the following locations:

  • Warragul Country Club - Tuesday 22 October
  • Gippsland Tech School in Traralgon - Monday 18 November
  • South Gippsland Bass Coast LLEN at Leongatha  - Friday 22 November
  • Sale College – Guthridge Campus  - Monday 25 November
  • The Hub in Bairnsdale - Tuesday 26 November.

Image by Nicolas Raymond flicr cc attribution license

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