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Rural teacher awarded for commitment to disadvantaged students

Media release

C.Y. O’Connor Institute Principal Lecturer Dr Sharon Ross, has been announced the 2015 Curtin University Teaching Excellence Award winner, during the recent Regional Achievement and Community Awards dinner.

With a commitment to providing disadvantaged students with a second chance in education and training, Dr Ross has implemented a number of enabling programs to engage with migrants, women in rural communities, people with a disability and Indigenous learners.

Utilising blended approaches that include hands-on, project based work, virtual classrooms and tutorials, Dr Ross has provided students with round-the-clock access to online learning, giving them a self-paced educational environment.

“Many students are disengaged with traditional learning, because they are not able to attend classes or find the content does not interest them,” Dr Ross said.

“The students who I teach online feel they have a sense of control and ownership of their own progress, which inspires them to continue.

“My classes are attended by people ranging in age from 16 to 75, and represent diverse cultural backgrounds. All learning plans are personalised to ensure their individual needs and competencies are achieved.”

Curtin Head of School of Education Associate Professor Lina Pelliccione presented the award to Dr Ross and highlighted her achievements.

“Sharon embodies a new generation of teachers, who utilise innovative and flexible delivery options to engage with students across geographical and cultural divides,” Associate Professor Pelliccione said.

“Inspired by the struggles of her learners, Sharon has empowered her students to build their skills and education. She has enabled students to return to work and gain independence.”

In her 17 year career, Dr Ross has also developed and implemented learning programs to support training for aged care workers, lecturers, seniors and to promote road safety in regional communities.

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