Staff Spotlight – Rachael Hillier

Year 10 Science teacher, Rachael Hillier has brought an innovative approach to genetics into the classroom.

Staff Spotlight

Rachael says that offering a different learning format is a great way to generate interest.

HILRAStudents have created stop motion videos on transcription and translation to demonstrate their learning and understanding of the topic, and are currently working towards podcast debates.

The two debates will be placed on Seqta so that students have the opportunity to listen to others.

Students are debating cloning, DNA editing in animals. They have been reading current articles and have been involved in lively discussions on the topic.

Rachael completed her VIT registration last year and her project focussed on making thinking visible.

The aim of it was to encourage students to voice opinions and discuss topics so they spark off each other and make connections in their learning themselves.

She says, “It’s collaborative process where students are not just learning from the teacher, they are learning from each other. This encourages them to connect with current and new knowledge, develop different thinking routines and become more independent learners.

To encourage students to become independent learners, Rachael requires them to source three extra resources, getting them into the habit of trying to find answers themselves.

Rachael says that one of the things she enjoyed most with her VIT project was the TRIAD component where she was able to work with two other teachers. They observed each other’s processes, and shared and received constructive feedback.

Rachael says, ‘there is something magical about chemistry. It’s an abstract science and you need an imagination to understand it.’

Prior to teaching, Rachael worked as a scientist doing a research project involving salt and drought tolerance in barley.

SAM_3697The joint project between the University of Melbourne and the University of Adelaide involved comparing GMO outcomes for normal and genetically modified crops. Rachael enjoyed the project, but found that working in a lab was isolating.

She says, “I always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to be able to share my passion for science.”hiking

When she’s not teaching, Rachael loves hiking and being outdoors. She also enjoys reading crime and adventure novels.



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