Notre Dame education student commended by Catholic Education Office

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Spring 6-11-2012

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame Australia

Publication Place



The University of Notre Dame Australia's fourth year Education student, Sarah Gaydon, has impressed seasoned educational professionals with numeracy research she presented as part of a new internship program pioneered by the University and the Catholic Education Office (CEO), Sydney.

Notre Dame and the CEO have initiated the "Early Years Interns" program, giving 12 Notre Dame students undertaking their final year of a Bachelor of Education the opportunity to serve in a paid teaching position in a Catholic school for 12 hours per week for a period of 12 months.

As part of the program, the student teachers developed a portfolio reflecting professional experiences and learnings, and the candidates presented their findings to a group of educational professionals.

In preparing her final report for the program, Ms Gaydon said her research on numeracy made her think about how she could adjust her teaching strategies to improve the performance of her students at her intern school, St Patrick's Catholic Primary, Sutherland.

"The kindergarten students were struggling to communicate and justify their mathematical thinking," Ms Gaydon said.

"Students could supply the correct answer, but when I asked them how they got that answer, they really struggled to be able to articulate the strategies they used. This allowed me to come up with my numeracy enquiry question, 'How can I provide authentic numeracy experiences that allow students to develop their use of mathematical language?'"

"As a result of my engagement with the project, I became autonomous in the process of practitioner enquiry, where I was constantly reflecting, reviewing, refining, refocusing and renewing my learning and making sure my lessons catered to the students' varying needs," Ms Gaydon said.

Dr Dan White, the Executive Director of Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Sydney, said he was extremely impressed with the quality of Ms Gaydon's presentation.

"Sarah had obviously thought deeply about the way to successfully engage with her students, and the teaching strategies that would best achieve this," Dr White said.

"St Patrick's Sutherland has a dynamic learning environment, and Sarah has obviously benefited enormously from the support and guidance she has received from her supervising teachers. She is clearly very passionate about her teaching and I look forward to the wonderful contribution she will no doubt make in Sydney Catholic schools in the years ahead."

Ms Gaydon said the program allowed her the opportunity to teach her kindergarten class, assist students with individual needs and to become part of the staff family at St Patrick's.

"This opportunity that Notre Dame and the CEO have provided me has been fantastic.

"I just feel that little bit more prepared to enter the teaching workforce next year after I graduate," Ms Gaydon said.

Phillip Tax, Principal of St Patrick's, said initiatives like the "Early Years Interns" project are invaluable to future educators and give outstanding grounding to people who want to be teachers.

"This internship has changed Sarah from being a good teacher to being an outstanding teacher. It has made her very employable and will ensure Sarah is a sought-after teaching candidate when she graduates," Mr Tax said.

For further information please contact: Communications Officer, Elizabeth Fenech The University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney Campus

T: 02 8204 4407

E: elizabeth.fenech@nd.edu.au

W: www.nd.edu.au/