Students who struggle in Science and Mathematics are excelling by the end of a year under a Trinity Bay State High School teacher who uses literacy to help lift student understanding and results. Joel Ward, who previously taught English in Japan, brings an infectious enthusiasm to his work, often remarking to students, “What? English study in Maths class? You know it.” The enthusiasm crosses over into his students, who recognise his methods or activities in other classes with excitement. “He knows that if students can read, write but ultimately UNDERSTAND the questions, instructions, class texts, etc they can apply that to all subjects in the future”, colleague and Languages teacher Allana Howells says. Joel regularly undertakes a variety of professional development to keep up with new research in education. Two years ago, he ran a seminar about using interactive PowerPoints, where students could choose their learning through an activities menu. Communicating regularly with parents, he makes sure to keep them in the loop about a student’s progress, upcoming assessment and techniques that can be utilised at home. When he notices a change in a student’s behaviour, he takes note and follows up. Regularly he escorts students participating in sporting tournaments, including baseball, making sure they are congratulated in school notices and in person when he sees them around the school. As a committee member of the Cairns Taiko Japanese drumming team he regularly brings the team to perform at the school for cultural events and donates time to annual community fundraisers. Joel Ward has a passion for what he does, and it infuses the school community. Congratulations Joel on your nomination.
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