Excellence in Teaching Physical Sciences (FET)
Name: Ms Danielle van Eck
School: Protea Heights Academy, Brackenfell
District: Metropole East Education District
As a passionate teacher, Ms van Eck’s teaching philosophy is based on developing analytical and critical thinking skills and encouraging learners to think independently. She is instrumental as a driving force behind the science ethos at Proteas Heights Academy (PHA). She has a passion for robotics and heads up the robotics programme at PHA.
Ms van Eck believes that it is very important to develop lesson plans and intervention programmes. During her lessons, mutual respect is the cornerstone of her productive classroom environment and meaningful relationships are fostered with learners. She makes use of a flipped classroom, as well as blended learning. This includes the incorporation of practical demonstrations and collaboration via Google platforms
To further enhance the learning experience, she uses various technological aids such as pHet simulations, EdPuzzle and QR codes. Her practical nature allows her to perform demonstrations in class to help learners to conceptualise the difficult sections of the content they are trying to master.
She encourages her learners to be partners in the learning process through her learner support programme. This includes additional lessons and co-curricular activities such as the laboratory assistant team, where learners are trained to manage stock and prepare and perform practical demonstrations. In partnership with the University of Stellenbosch, learners are exposed to current developments such as aquaponics and hydroponics. She also has established partnerships with the University of the Western Cape and the University of Missouri.
Ms van Eck fosters strong working relationships between her colleagues and the community. She creates a sense of social responsibility by sharing resources via team drives with the Southern Suburb Science Circle. She was also a keynote speaker at an online international T4 teaching conference, which includes speaking about teacher collaboration.
Ms van Eck has organised and hosted the PHA Science Week initiative and Women in Science, which focused on bringing together schools from all over the district and the greater Western Cape. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, she still hosted the annual Science Expo at PHA.