Australian Embassy

Media release - 17 May 2017

Australian scientist shares expertise on interactive science & maths teaching


Dr Stuart Kohlhagen, Senior Fellow and former Director of Science and Learning at Australia’s National Science & Technology Centre (QUESTACON), is visiting Vietnam from 17-19 May 2017 to conduct a series of workshops on science and maths interactive learning with Vietnamese educators, including both in- service and pre-service teachers in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. 

The workshops will demonstrate how teachers can use simple, every-day materials to teach a range of scientific themes, including the principles of light, shadow, colour and water, as well as their applications in daily life. The participants will also be engaged in activities that support critical thinking, innovation and problem solving as well as design thinking and creativity.

“The use of simple materials combined with open ended exploration designed to engage but also challenge young minds is the essence of this program.  It fosters a resilient problem solving mindset in students. It works and extends the academically gifted as much as it does those with different learning styles and dispositions. I am very excited to share this work with Vietnamese colleagues, and finds ways to collaborate and adapt these approaches in the various communities,” said Dr Stuart Kohlhagen.

“Australia is a world leader in STEM education. We hope that Vietnamese educators and preservice teachers will be able to draw on their experience at Dr Kohlhagen’s workshops to inspire enthusiasm in their students for science and maths,” said Australian Ambassador HE Mr Craig Chittick.

“Vietnam is implementing a pilot program on teaching maths and sciences in English in a bid to strengthen reasoning and integration abilities of Vietnamese students, so Dr Kohlhagen’s sharing of his expertise is very valuable for our lecturers and students,” said Prof. Dr Nguyen Quy Thanh, Rector of the University of Education under the Vietnam National University.

During his visit, Dr Kohlhagen will also meet with representatives from the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), and the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET).

Information for editors

QUESTACON and the Australian National University have been working with MOST under a Memorandum of Understanding that has seen travelling exhibitions and programs brought to Vietnam, professional development delivered in Australia to senior MOST officials, as well as forums and professional development relating to public engagement with science. 

Dr Stuart Kohlhagen has worked with Questacon since 1979, working with the founding Director to help establish the Centre’s activities. Dr Kohlhagen led the design and development of interactive exhibits, and delivered international workshops on exhibit and exhibition development, public programs, and science communication. He has run professional development training for teachers, museum and science centre professionals across the Asia Pacific and in Africa. In 2000, he was awarded a Public Service medal for his contribution to informal science education, and in 2013 won the “Iron Science Teacher” competition at the renowned Exploratorium’s Teachers Institute.

He recently retired from his role as Director of Science and Learning at Questacon after 37 years of service to take up a directorship of Science Centre Solutions, a consultancy to support the establishment of new science centres and centres of informal learning in emerging countries. Dr Kohlhagen is also Director of the Enquiry Academy and “Science Nomad”.