Head of Faculty – Mathematics at Sheldon College, Chris Niven, has a passion for teaching in the years of ‘Middle School’ and has great knowledge of the needs of students at this pivotal age. It says a lot that Chris developed both a co-curricular club called MathsX to extend the best mathematicians and a Maths Clinic Club to give extra support for students in learning the subject. The Maths Clinic Club doubled in participation this past year and students have also entered more competitions at all levels and been highly successful. Chris has been an integral part of developing MC-Squared through the college’s Learning Management System.
This platform promotes academic focus and continues to grow. In his role as Pedagogical Coach and Head of Faculty – Mathematics (7-9), Chris developed with his staff an 11-point teaching framework which is age-appropriate and highly engaging. With this framework and his classroom practice Chris has achieved much, including a contribution to Sheldon’s outstanding NAPLAN results. Chris’s lessons are action-packed, and students are eager to partake in activities involving Linear Graph Aerobics, Parabola of a Basketball, 3D Spaghetti and Jelly Babies Trigonometry; at the same time he builds strong relationships with his students. The teacher of more than ten years wants to share his love of maths and create pedagogy that engages. Director of Academics – Secondary Jarrod Pleass notes that Chris actively coaches staff to create a smooth transition from Years 5 to 9 in the subject. “Chris continues to work with teachers to assist students to conquer any fears of Mathematics and to inspire the future thought leaders of our community,” Jarrod says. Chris is always on the lookout for professional development that will grow teaching capacity. Recently he returned from the EduTech conference where the entire sector gather to learn, debate and exchange ideas. Chris also presents at conferences and continues to read the latest in education theories. Chris has also led a large number of professional development sessions that took on a range of topics from ICT integration to how to extend student learning. Because of his efforts there is an increase at Sheldon in teachers making video reflections using Swivl technology. His efforts have been instrumental in the promotion of video feedback as a source of professional development. His aim is to have all staff film at least one lesson per year. Chris has been recognised for his hard work by online magazine The Educator, which named him a Rising Star in 2018 and put him on their 2019 Hot List. He also received a nomination for the Australian Scholarships Group National Excellence in Teaching Award in 2017. Congratulations Chris on your nomination.