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Maths expertise helps students on university pathway

22 February 2021

Having taught on both sides of Australia and for a short time in the United States of America, Carolyn Lukas has been helping students understand mathematics for more than 35 years.

Born in Perth to an engineer father and a mother who loved maths, Carolyn was destined to pursue a career involving mathematics.

Now the Head of Mathematics at Canning College, she takes particular pride in helping students of all abilities become adept at solving difficult mathematical problems on their pathway to university.2021_02_22_Carolyn Lukas

Pictured above: Head of Mathematics Carolyn Lukas helps students succeed in maths on their pathway to leading universities.

“Some students have to overcome a barrier with mathematics,” she said. “To some it’s been a mystery and it shouldn’t be a mystery.

“When students really get into mathematics and see what it actually is, how it relates to everything and they can see the patterns and have some success with it, they overcome any fears.

“What I love is the logic behind the mathematics. It’s the beauty of all the patterns that logically connect together. You go into one area of mathematics and see something that can apply to another area of mathematics or to applications in the real world.”

Carolyn started teaching at Canning College in 1988 and became head of the mathematics department in 2010. Canning College’s pathway programs have brought students from around the world into her classroom where she gives them the tools to achieve entry into leading universities.

“Canning is a great place,” she said. “It’s a place where education works. Students are here because they want to be here. The staff give their all to their students and help them in any way they can. It’s such a lovely environment.”

Carolyn completed her Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in mathematics and statistics from UWA followed by a Diploma of Education.

She went on to teach mathematics and science in Williams District High School and Canberra High School, as well as teaching maths in a primary school in Cincinnati, Ohio, before joining Canning College. She has also worked part time at Murdoch University as a lecturer.

In more recent times, like other staff at the College, she has applied her vast experience to online teaching with the launch of Canning College’s remote learning programs in mid-2020.

Teachers use video and other digital tools to provide students with a live and interactive learning method, which has been very well received. In a late-2020 survey, 96% of students indicated their satisfaction with the level of engagement in online classes.

Carolyn continues to look to innovative teaching methods to make the subject easier and more interesting to learn.

“I don’t want it to be a cold subject and if I can bring humour into my teaching at any time I will try and do that,” she said.