School of Education

Bruce Schmidt

Bachelor of Education P-10 (TJ5) Mt Helen Campus Coordinator
Study area: Education
Location: Mt Helen Campus, T Building, Room T317
Phone: 5327 9307


Master of Numeracy - The University of Melbourne - 2012
Graduate Diploma of Education - Ballarat College of Advanced Education – 1984
Diploma of Civil Engineering – Ballarat Institute of Advanced Education - 1974



  • Bachelor of Education
  • Master of Teaching (Secondary)
  • Master of Teaching (Primary)


  • Science Education (EDBED2005 / EDBED2009)
  • Perspectives on Curriculum & Education (EDBED4001)
  • Senior Science Curriculum 1 (EDMAS6018)
  • Senior Science Curriculum 2 (EDMAS6118)
  • Understanding and Investigating Our Worlds (EDFGC5705)


Bruce started professional life as a civil engineer specialising in efficient irrigation systems. A change in direction led to secondary maths/science teaching specialising in physics education and curriculum leadership. Bruce led action research in science education in his school, then becoming a regional consultant for action research projects in schools across Western Victoria. Bruce completed a Master’s Degree at the University of Melbourne before joining Federation University as a lecturer in the School of Education in 2014.

Area of expertise

Bruce is predominantly a science educator who has worked across a variety of areas. As a secondary teacher Bruce held both administrative and curriculum leadership roles, which led to a focus on collaborative action research and reflective practices as a foundation for continual re-invigoration of teaching in schools. This approach became the driver of a regional consultancy role for Bruce, and more recently in lecturing at Federation University. Key elements are:

(1) Science in Schools – action research in science education

After developing a focus on students’ beliefs and attitudes through the New Zealand ‘Learning in Science Project’, Bruce started incorporating action research and reflective practices in teaching. The Victorian Government funded Deakin University to establish the Science in Schools action research project which provided a variety of tools for gathering data on teacher and student experiences in science education, analysing and reflecting on the data, leading to action planning to implement developed goals. This structure proved effective, and lead to other domains of the curriculum being able to adopt this approach.

(2) Principles of Learning and Teaching – across the whole curriculum, all levels

The science action research model was further developed to incorporate all curriculum and the Victorian Education Department, with the consultancy of Deakin University, developed 6 key Principles of Learning & Teaching (PoLT) to guide schools’ action research into curriculum design and teaching pedagogies in their classes.

(3) 5Es Inquiry Model and the e5 Instructional Model

Embedding learning through a social constructivist approach has led to a variety of inquiry models being developed, with the BSCS Colorado Springs group’s 5Es Model encapsulating the desired elements. This was originally written for developing science units of work, but in more recent times the Victorian Education Department re-dressed this as the ‘e5 Instructional Model’ as a tool for teacher reflective practices in teaching in the classroom.

(4) Realistic Mathematics Education

Realistic Mathematics Education (RME) is a successful Dutch approach to teaching and learning of mathematics that has developed in response to the need to ensure that mathematics is a ‘doing’ activity that is useful as a human endeavour, rather than to be just experienced as an abstract set of algorithms to be mastered. The approach believes that teachers can aspire to guide their students to ‘re-invent’ maths as a tool to explore a ‘realistic’ problems and phenomena that require ‘mathematizing’ in order to help make sense of the situation. This is best achieved, in RME theory, by acknowledging that students need to work progressively through different ‘levels’, and be in a social, interactive environment.

Research interests

  • Realistic Education
  • Teaching and learning pedagogies and associated curriculum design
  • Teaching and learning of science and mathematics


No current supervision



Schmidt, B., (2001). A Student’s Guide to Physics. Ballarat: Wizard Books Pty Ltd. (Reprinted by Cambridge University Press.)

Conference presentations

  • STAVCON (2000) – Science in Schools Research Project
  • STAVCON (2002) – Seeing Light through Different Eyes
  • STAV Physics Teachers Conference (2007) – Alternative Energy
  • MAVCon (2012) – Realistic Mathematics Education

Other research details

2000: “Science in Schools Research Project” – School Coordinator

2001-2003: “Science in Schools Research Project” – Regional Project Officer

2004-2006: “School Innovation in Teaching”: action research in schools in Science, Mathematics and Technology education – Regional Project Officer

2007-2012: “Principles of Learning and Teaching” and the “e5 Instructional Model”: action research in schools in teaching and learning pedagogy and curriculum design – Regional Project Officer

2011-2012: “Realistic Mathematics Education”: action research project for Master’s Degree on an approach to teaching algebra in secondary schools.

2014: “Mathematics Intervention”: participation in Federation University’s research project to assist and support pre-service teachers’ capabilities, attitudes and understanding about mathematics content and pedagogy

2015-2016: “It’s Part of My Life”: participation in the Regional Universities Network (RUN) research project on engaging university and community to enhance science and mathematics education

2017: “Re-solve: Mathematics by Inquiry”: participation in this Australian Academy of Science project in collaboration with a team from the University of Melbourne to research and develop resources for teaching algebra to help students learn mathematics in innovative and engaging ways incorporating tools of technology.


  • Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT)
  • Science Teachers’ Association of Victoria (STAV)
  • The Mathematical Association of Victoria (MAV)