STEM teaching: unlocking students' potential

13 September 2021

Outdoor play for teacher and students

Janet Elliot is a Kindergarten science teacher at Farrer Primary School in the ACT. The BHP Foundation Science and Engineering Awards recently recognised Janet for her commitment to teaching. 

Her STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) teaching and learning philosophy integrates disciplines to ensure understanding amongst her student cohort.

Janet said that in any classroom there are students with wide-ranging ability, interest and experiences.

"If we are going to move them all forward in skill and conceptual development, we need to cater for these varying factors and their preferred learning styles – whether that is visual, auditory, kinaesthetic or physical," Janet said.

"It is through integrating teaching, learning and ways of thinking across subjects that a deeper understanding of concepts develops.”

STEM teaching for all grades

Janet first stepped into the classroom in 1969 and has teaching experience spanning pre-school through to Year 6, as well as lecturing at University.

She has also worked outside of the classroom, developing science resources and delivering professional learning programs for primary school teachers.

"I have always loved teaching, discovering ways to engage students and observing their learning development," Janet explained.

Her passion for teaching has allowed her to engage with colleagues to develop improved content, resources, and pedagogical ideas.

"It opens up new ideas, methods, resources, and network opportunities with colleagues. It enriches our teaching and extends the learning opportunities for students."

STEM teaching and collaboration

Janet believes it is vital to showcase the work that teachers do. Mainly, because it helps inspire and encourage all teachers to do amazing things. When asked what her advice for her peers might be, Janet said it's about collaboration.

“Collaborate with colleagues, always listen to your students to discover their strengths, weaknesses, fears, and interests.

“Take every opportunity you can to view the work of successful teachers and students. Talk to them about what motivates and leads them to their amazing ideas!"

Janet is a remarkable teacher, and through her holistic teaching approach, she continues to break barriers teaching in STEM.  Our congratulations to Janet, and all the teachers who have been recognised through the BHP Foundation Science and Engineering Awards!


The BHP Foundation Science and Engineering Awards recognise and support the outstanding contributions made by classroom teachers in science education. Proudly supported by CSIRO and the Australian Science Teachers Association (ASTA), we are honoured to share the stories of the 2021 Teacher Finalists.

Award partners