Tuesday, 26 Sep 2017

West Moreton Anglican College is blessed to have so many wonderful teachers and staff. Recently the nominees for the 2017 Queensland College of Teachers Excellence in Teaching Awards were announced, and our very own Ms Louisa Lawless is one the list.

You can read the full story below, or visit the Queensland College of Teachers. Congratulations on the nomination Ms Lawless, we look forward to following your progress through the next stage.

Nominee - Louisa Lawless, West Moreton Anglican College

Louisa Lawless is currently Band Co-ordinator and Music teacher at West Moreton Anglican College.

She is kept busy running a curriculum band program for all year 5 & 6 students, teaching Music Performance (extension Music) to classes of year 7 & 8 students, teaching Year 9 & 10 elective music, conducting multiple ensembles in Junior, Middle and Senior school and organising the instrumental and extra-curricular program comprising approximately 250 students.

Louisa Lawless fosters a love of music among her students in the classroom and in the school bands she leads.

She promotes passion for music making and growth in personal confidence and ensemble skills. Louisa maintains a personal approach and strong connections with students and families.

The West Moreton Anglican College teacher is drawing on a range of techniques to improve students’ achievements in the field of musical literacy.

Initiatives including a band reading day, various workshop opportunities, external concert trips, extending the specialist Music performance classes to both years 7 & 8, introducing advanced students to ensembles outside of the college and nominating students for various state/national extension programs throughout the year.

With teaching experience in Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, Louisa is using her extensive knowledge of teaching to develop engaging learning programs that her students genuinely look forward to.
The largest project Louisa is currently undertaking is in co-ordinating the year 5 & 6 Instrumental program.

This involves the testing of every year 4 student currently enrolled at the college and new students for their instrumental suitability.

Also, presenting the program to new and existing parents, assigning approximately 90 instruments per year, organising instrumental staff and conducting/co-ordinating the 4 concert bands and string orchestras.

This has been a huge undertaking but the results are speaking for themselves with numbers of students taking up instrumental tuition increasing exponentially.

"I take particular pride in being able to “find” a student," says Louisa.

"By that I mean see the potential in them where others perhaps do not and to help them to grow as much as a person as a musician."

"To see a student that is shy and unassuming become a confident and respected member of the school community, carry such presence when walking around with a full sized tuba is amazing. Or that quiet girl that then stands at the front of a big band and improvises on the trombone like a star."

“"To see that student finally grinning like a Cheshire cat whilst concentrating on that bass drum part like his life depended on it. You can’t just ask for that commitment and trust, it has to grow within the child."

“Louisa models exemplary ethical behaviour and radiates a warmth to her students whilst maintaining very professional dealings with students, colleagues, and the community,” class parent Suzanne Garvey said.

“In particular, my son loves Symphonic Band, as Louisa consistently has high expectations and encourages her students to pursue challenging goals with new and more advanced pieces of music,” Suzanne said.

Louisa’s consistent encouragement has seen her school bands excel, regularly winning competitions while having a great deal of fun doing so.

The brass ensemble has consistently achieve Gold at the local Eistedfodd as has the College symphonic band in its competitions, winning Silver in their first National competition.

‘Jazzin’ Up the Hall’ is the Music departments’ biggest fund raising event and grows each year in attendance, community reach and funds raised.

The UQ (University of Queensland) Big Band performs with the WestMAC Big Band giving the students an opportunity to perform with and integrate with experienced musicians and connecting with Alumni students who also often return to the college to work with existing students.

An expert collaborator, Louisa engages colleagues and parents in musical performances, assessments, and competitions to ensure that everyone understands the educational priorities of both her classroom and the school more broadly.

Congratulations Louisa on your nomination.

Story Credit - Claudia Farhart