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Teaching by example

Michelle Cooper is committed to ongoing learning to empower her teaching and her students.

There’s a determination in the eyes of Michelle Cooper when she’s asked about how her students at Launceston Church Grammar School (LCGS) approach learning.

Michelle is just six months away from completing her Master of Education. She’s been teaching at LCGS for 13 years; she initially took the job for just three months. But Michelle is into everything long-term, and that includes her education and the education of others.

I believe as an educator the best way to teach students is to show them by doing.

"If I want 21st century learners who are constantly growing and understanding that learning is lifelong, then I have to exhibit that by showing my commitment to continual learning.”

Michelle’s educational journey with the University of Tasmania spans nearly three decades.

“I’ve done a Bachelor of Applied Science with majors in maths and computing, and some science.

“I then completed my Diploma of Teaching. I had a 20-year break and I’ve now completed my Bachelor of Education (Professional Honours) and I’m just about to finish my Masters of Education," she said.

I’m not someone who can sit and do the same thing. I’ve got to continue to grow. I don’t think I could’ve done that if I hadn’t undertaken my postgraduate studies.

Michelle’s professional Honours focused on the development of her skills as an online learning creator and developer. They are skills that have been invaluable in her role heading up Information Technology at LCGS.

“In the past year we’ve gone from having one or two students trialing online to more like 50 students involved,” she said.

Online learning is revolutionising what we do in education, particularly a style of hybrid education where students are online but learning is still teacher led.

“Online learning benefits all children. It allows students who have a desire to extend their study to do so, those who need to consolidate their learning can, and it is also invaluable for students with learning difficulties,” she said.

The Master course includes 12 units with the first eight dedicated to Professional Honours. Michelle secured a scholarship to complete her Honours and will finish her Masters dissertation by mid-2018.

She credits the flexibility of the UTAS postgraduate programme for enabling her to achieve her educational goals.

“I’ve studied online and have been able to do coursework in bigger blocks. With a family and working full-time it would have been impossible without those options.

“When I first went to University all those years ago, there wasn’t an online option or the level of flexibility, so I think UTAS has adapted very well to changing lifestyles and the needs of working parents,” she said.

“It means more people are able to do postgraduate studies now because they can do it from the comfort of their own home.”

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