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Teachers produce ground-breaking research on leave

News release from the Royal Society of New Zealand


16 December 2009

Teachers produce ground-breaking research while on leave from school

A group of teachers from all over New Zealand have just completed one-year out of the classroom to undertake research projects, with some ground-breaking work produced.

The 32 primary and secondary teachers were on New Zealand Science, Mathematics and Technology Teacher Fellowships awarded by the Royal Society of New Zealand and funded each year by the government.

Under the scheme each teacher works with a host organisation such as a crown research institute, university, or a local council or business which supports and mentors them with their chosen project.

It aims to give teachers a better understanding of how science, maths and technology are applied outside the classroom.

Topics investigated by the teachers in 2009 included whether daffodils are indicators of our changing climate, the value of using bilingual materials to raise achievement for Pasifika students, ways to increase butterfly populations, and the use of micro wind turbines for domestic electricity generation in a windy urban environment.

On Friday this week the teachers are in Wellington to present the findings of their research at the annual Teacher Fellows Symposium hosted by the Royal Society of New Zealand As well as sharing their research they will look at ways to extend their new knowledge so that it benefits their community and school.

Gillian Irving, from the Royal Society, says the teacher fellowships are known to be a “life-changing experience” for the teachers involved.

“Teachers report that they feel rejuvenated and inspired when they return to their school. Everyone benefits from their experience, from the teachers themselves to their colleagues and their pupils.

“The fellowships are highly sought after and we receive a large number of applications every year.”

The teacher fellowship scheme was established in 1994.


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