Mount Aspiring College secondary English teacher Christopher Waugh has recently been recognised for his innovative classroom methods at the ASG National Excellence in Teaching Awards last week. Waugh was one of six teachers to be awarded with the Supreme Award for Innovation in Education after creating initiatives within the school English programme in which students take control of their learning.
One particular innovation that interested the judge panel was the ‘You Choose’ course selection where teachers pitch their English courses to Year 11 and 12 students, who then decide what they would most like to study for the year. Waugh has also created individual blogs for each student that essentially replaces the role of a workbook, and a podcast (See Me After Class) with fellow teachers about the education system.
“I’m very pleased to note that this is an award for excellence in practice,” said Waugh, who has been teaching across the country and in the UK for 18 years, “It’s not for being passionate or trying hard, or doing a lot of extra work - though those things are often virtues of teachers — this is an acknowledgement to teachers for being good at what we do. Personally, I’ve eschewed the temptation to attempt a rise into the management ranks — though I’m not presuming they’d have had me if I’d tried — and it’s great that, just from the classroom, I can still gain national recognition.”
Waugh added that, “my dearest hope is that this award will mean that the school management will reconsider their diminishment of our student choice scheme. The ability English students have in our department, in Years 11 and 12, to select their own course and teacher is a unique innovation, which was particularly interesting to the award panel, and it’s currently under threat. Otherwise, it’s simply a signal that we’re on the right track. That feels good.”