The Master of Education has changed Parul's outlook as a high school teacher in surprising ways. As a recipient of the DECD Masters for Teachers Scholarship, Parul was ready to go back to the classroom as a student herself, and enrolled part-time so she could continue to work as a full-time teacher of Biology and Chemistry.
"Even though I was involved in a lot of leadership roles at my school, I struggled to understand what education policy makers were thinking and how they worked. I wanted to know how they researched, how they made decisions and performed data analysis. Up until then in my job I felt I was just learning through making mistakes."
"By doing the Masters of Education I knew I would have a better understanding about how leadership works in the whole education system, not just in my school. In the course we learnt about what happens in schools internationally, and how those countries make policy. I was surprised to learn how the Australian education system works compared to say, Singapore."
Parul is also able to make positive changes in her school and directly with students. My first course was Research Design where I learnt to design hypotheses, do research and then analyse the data. That was really helpful because I could give our year 12 students guidelines on how to design their research projects, and it also gave me the opportunity to share my learning with the teachers taking those subjects.
I not only learnt different leadership styles that I wasn't aware of, I also realised that different styles of leadership can influence student's learning outcomes.
As part of her studies, Parul has also been able investigate NAPLAN results within her school at an individual level.
"In the course Introduction to Quantitative Methods I was able to learn how to analyse data, but not just that I was able to find the factors influencing the results. I looked at my school's NAPLAN results over three years to determine how results can effect STEM participation in year 12 at an individual level, not just for a cohort. That has been very helpful because I can now use that knowledge in my classroom and I'm also now the Year 10 STEM project leader. My school has found the information very valuable."
Parul has adapted her approach to teaching as a result of studying in the Master of Education. "I learnt the pedagogy and methodology of teaching quite a while ago, and after teaching for so long you feel like you are repeating the same thing. Studying has helped me refresh my thinking and look again at my pedagogy, especially 21st century pedagogy because it's all related to technology. By doing the course I realised how important STEM is for all teaching areas." In Educational Leadership in Diverse Contexts Parul says "I not only learnt different leadership styles that I wasn't aware of, I also realised that different styles of leadership can influence student's learning outcomes."
Parul expects to use her new knowledge to build up her experience and perhaps tackle new projects and study, or travel to learn more about the education sector internationally. She says "As a teacher you never stop learning. The Master of Education gives teachers the opportunity to look at what's happening in their school and gives a broader idea about schools globally. I say go for it."