Patricia Duffy, Ireland

A science teacher at St. Mary's Baldoyle in Dublin, Patricia participated in the first year of Amgen Teach after finding out about the programme via Ireland's national training provider, PDST Professional Development Service for Teachers. She has five years' teaching experience and prior to her current career worked in the pharmaceutical industry.

"A big thing about Amgen Teach is that they want kids to experience science rather than to observe, or be lectured about it," she enthuses. And goes on to say that her own experience with Amgen Teach has definitely improved her confidence in teaching using an inquiry-based approach and engaging students by encouraging them to: "use their imaginations and use their own knowledge in order to be able to work out problems."

A specific example of this is when Patricia uses an experiment suggested by Amgen Teach that involves a reversible colour change. Ensuring science classes have a strong impact on students is particularly important in countries where, to use her words, the curriculum is "quite dry".

Injecting extra interest into these curricula is one big part of the reason that Patricia is active in the Amgen Teach Community of Practice on www.amgenteach.eu and the opportunities for online and face-to-face collaboration are an important element to this. She has found it very useful "working in small groups with teachers of the same subject, coming up with lesson ideas and lesson plans that we all could use and collaborate on." Ultimately, she believes that the increased engagement of students that Amgen Teach encourages: "leads to higher attainment in a subject".