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Science head inspires student learning

27 November 2020

Head of science Tony Herbert’s passion for education and thirst for knowledge have not waned in more than 37 years of teaching.

“If a student leaves my classroom not just knowing something about science but with a heightened sense of curiosity, wonder and the love of ideas, then I have done a good job,” he said.

“There are some amazing things in this universe that in everyday life we don’t think about or don’t hear about. Discussing them in a science classroom at Canning College to students from Year 10 to Year 12 is something that interests me and the student as well.”

Tony Herbert in science lab

Pictured above: Tony Herbert works with a student in a Canning College science lab.

Tony, who was nominated for Secondary Teacher of the Year in 2013, worked at nine schools, including two periods in the regional towns of Mount Barker and Wickham, before joining Canning College in 2014.

He was attracted to the position because of the opportunity to work with students from different cultural backgrounds.

“Working with international students has been a fantastic experience,” he said, highlighting the benefits of teaching students with a range of experiences and variety of ideas.

Tony also manages the Astronomy Club and Rocket Club at the college and assists students in entering competitions during Science Week. He hopes students will become more inquisitive as a result of their Canning experience.

“I love ideas and I try to bring that into my love of learning,” he said. “I want students to learn and to ask questions.

“We’ve heard of the big bang theory but a question one might think about is what was actually present before the big bang? What is dark matter? What is dark energy? What is the universe made of?”

Born in Kuala Lumpur and an immigrant to Australia in 1968, Tony started his teaching career in 1983 after completing a Bachelor of Education in Science, a Master of Educational Management and a Master in Business Administration.

During his teaching career he has also worked with the Department of Education as a consultant and policy officer.

Besides his teaching achievements, which also include several excellence-in-teaching awards, he has volunteered at the Perth observatory and wrote the physics chapters in several textbooks. He has presented on a range of issues in science education at several conferences and has written numerous articles for The West Australian newspaper.

Tony Herbert on guitar

Pictured above: Tony Herbert uses a guitar to show students in practice how sound waves travel through strings, consolidating the theory on the board behind him.