The Praxis of Building Capacity in Mathematics and Science in a rural, Non-Government Systems of Schools

Voices of Teacher Leaders


  • Vince Connor Catholic Education Office
  • Billinda Auld Catholic Education Office
  • Patricia Eakin Catholic Education Office
  • Kerry Morris Catholic Education Office
  • Micahel Tilston Catholic Education Office



capacity building, non-government schools, teacher leaders, change management, mathematics and science


Much is written about teacher leaders and the impact they have in promoting and influencing change. This is a reflection from four teacher leaders from four secondary high schools of a rural, non-government system of schools as they seek to build a capacity in the learning and teaching of mathematics and science within their schools. The original study began in 2008 identifying that participation rates and achievement rates in senior mathematics and science are below NSW state average rates in higher order courses, but above average rates in the general and lower end courses. This trend has been acknowledged anecdotally at school level for many years, and more recently in Brown's Review of Education in Mathematics, Data Science and Quantitative Disciplines Report to the Group of Eight Universities (2009). Yet, in contrast to the mathematics and science trends, a study of all subjects and courses in the senior years of this system since 2001 shows student achievement across the schools is slightly above state average. Whilst the national and state trend in higher order mathematics and science is worrying, the trend in this rural, non-government system of schools is more worrying as the downward trends are stronger than for state. The question is asked “What can be done to improve student participation and achievement in more rigorous senior Mathematics and Science?” This presentation tells the story of the action research undertaken from the perspective of four teacher leaders who form a guiding Taskgroup. Their testimony identifies the praxis of forming learning teams that are isolated and autonomous. It engages the principles of change management identified by Michael Fullan and the professional development framework of Thomas Guskey.




How to Cite

Connor, V., Auld, B., Eakin, P., Morris, K., & Tilston, M. (2010). The Praxis of Building Capacity in Mathematics and Science in a rural, Non-Government Systems of Schools: Voices of Teacher Leaders. Australian and International Journal of Rural Education, 20(2), 35–51.