Australia Day local hero teaches us about the importance of ‘connection’

By now everyone will have heard of Eddie Woo, who recently won the Local Hero award on Australia Day and who has created a world wide sensation on You Tube with his maths classes online. Through his dedicated and inspiring teaching, Eddie has managed to remind us of the most important ingredient for impactful teaching - connection and the importance of building relationships. When I say relationships, I refer to human relationships and also the relationship and connections of learning between school and what is happening out there in the world beyond the classroom.

Eddie demonstrates to his students that learning is everywhere in the way he connects them with maths. He uses a simple explanation of his success in engaging young people in maths - he connects what they learn in maths to their every day - he knows that if students don't see the relevance of maths, they lose interest and it doesn't 'click'. So he broadens their awareness of the importance of maths in every day life, demonstrated by exploring the things we often take for granted.

Eddie says, "I love helping people learn and it is an unending privilege being able to interact with young people and help them grow, flourish and find their place out in the world."

What Eddie has achieved is connection with his students on an individual and more personalised level to build their confidence and self belief when it comes to studying maths and maths concepts. Instead of believing they are no good at maths, he explores how he can relate maths to each individual student and help them to think more broadly about how maths relates to their world. He understands that relationships are the key ingredient to flourish the teacher-student learning environment.

In many ways, what Eddie is achieving can be adopted by all educators, including parents. By focussing on interests and linking learning with those interests, children then become more engaged, curious and motivated to learn. Parents too have a role in recognising teachable moments at home, seizing the opportunity to link learning at school with learning at home to encourage a love of learning.

At Practically Learning, we explore four key focus areas to improve learning outcomes for students that involves parents having the capacity to engage with their children and support their learning at home. We also explore with leaders and teachers, methods to engage parents in learning to enable them to support learning at home. Most importantly we explore how to build parent and teacher capacity to continue to develop positive relationships with each other to support children and recognise the learning connections, just as Eddie Woo does.

Through various programs and consulting services we explore opportunities to develop a culture of parent engagement to support learning in your school.

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