Kerrine Bryan: Students Should Know How The Things They Learn At School Relate To Real Life
Kerrine Bryan is an Electrical Engineer and STEM ambassador with a passion for promoting engineering, among other careers, to students in secondary schools.
Kerrine is also the founder of Butterfly Books, which publishes children’s picture books that raise career awareness at a young age.
What are the skills we need to be teaching our children?
We should be making sure that students know how subjects relate to industry. What they are learning at school relates to real life things, and knowing that helps them to make important decisions, such as what further education subjects they want to study or what skills they want to go into.
What is the role of the teacher?
The role of a teacher is to encourage children.
The obvious role is to teach children what’s in the curriculum, but it is also to encourage children to realize what they’re good at and the things they might enjoy.
Do you think standardised testing is an effective way to assess learning?
It’s a tricky one. I don’t think that standardised testing really proves what children have learned, but it is a good way of teaching them to be dedicated to achieving something.
What would be the most exciting learning environment?
Ones that link to industry, so hands-on type things. For example, if the subject is science and experiments, it is valuable to go into industry and see how things work in real life.
I think you can learn a lot more that way than just in theory.
Whose responsibility do you think education is?
Education is everyone’s responsibility. I always think that role models are very important in education. If you have children, you need to make sure you tell them what you do in your job, or introduce them to the range of options that are open to them.
Also, if you’re working then you should be going into schools and being a role model. You should be talking about what you do, to educate children on working life.
What was your favorite moment in your own education?
My favorite moment was when I first found out about engineering. During primary school I didn’t have any idea what engineering was. I enjoyed maths, science and creative things, but I didn’t know how I could use them in real life.
I was doing my A-levels in college and a maths teacher suggested that I go on a residential course at university. I learned all about engineering and I could link what these subjects were, like physics and chemistry, to what engineering was about.
Did you have a favorite teacher?
My history teacher, who was also my form teacher, was very passionate about his subject. I think that passion is very important when you are teaching.
The next 100 years
The next 100 years of Finnish education should... involve industry.
Get industry into schools and colleges, so that students can see that what they are learning links to real life.