Neil Bramsen gets a kick out of making science more engaging, interesting and hands-on for his students.
That’s why the Mount Ousley Public School teacher organised for his students to talk with astronauts on the International Space Station.
The students have also made global connections through Skype with schools in Africa and America.
This innovative approach has endeared Mr Bramsen not only to his students but to their parents, one of whom nominated the assistant principal for the Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science Teaching in Primary Schools.
Mr Bramsen was in Canberra on Wednesday night to pick up the national award for his ‘’innovative partnerships with scientists, the community and other schools to foster students’ enthusiasm, knowledge and skills in science’’.
‘’It is amazing and it’s a great surprise that it is a parent nomination,’’ he said.
‘’It is nice to see the Mount Ousley School community and the parents seeing value in both what the school is doing and what I’ve been doing probably over 10 to 12 years both at Mount Ousley and at Sussex Inlet in trying to make science more engaging, interesting and hands-on for the kids.’’
Mr Bramsen sees science as an enabler of learning across the curriculum.
‘’It’s a way of hooking kids into learning. We want kids to enjoy school. It’s got to be a balance of fun and learning,’’ he said.
To get this balance right Mr Bramsen often heads outside to teach his students.
The students will watch and record bird sightings, head down to the beach to assess the level of marine debris or just think or read in the school’s butterfly garden.
‘’The outdoor classroom is probably my favourite place to be,’’ Mr Bramsen said.
‘’The indoor classroom is great but the outdoor classroom can be just as useful. I’d love more people to be using it.
‘’I think we should do whatever we can to make learning interesting and fun. That’s why we had the kids talk to the astronauts on an International Space Station about four years ago.’’
Mr Bramsen said his success was thanks to the school’s supportive and professional staff.
‘’There’s a great deal of trust given by the principal Peter Holmes, that enables the teachers to get in there and do good things with the kids and the community,’’ he said.
‘The best science teachers in Australia’
NSW Department of Education secretary Mark Scott said it was a remarkable achievement that two NSW public school teachers were singled out for honours at the ceremony.
Kirrawee High School teacher Brett McKay joined Mount Ousley Public School’s Neil Bramsen in receiving top honours from from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull – being named as two of Australia’s leading science educators.
“Brett and Neil have been recognised as the best science teachers in Australia,” Mr Scott said.
“We congratulate them on their wonderful achievement. Their enthusiasm for science and for their students is an example to which all teachers can aspire.”