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Fairhaven School – Angela McAllister

2016 | Encouraging curiosity through exploring plants

SchoolFairhaven School

HostThe New Zealand Institute of Plant and Food Research – Te Puke

RegionBay of Plenty

Fairhaven School’s vision for science is to enable “young people who will be confident, connected, actively involved, lifelong learners, who dream, strive and achieve through Kotahitanga in science.” The school’s science leaders, Ange McAllister and Delwyn Weaver, have promoted science teaching and learning school wide, encouraging practical inquiry learning to engage learners.  Having both teachers on the Science Leadership Programme will allow them to further develop science leadership skills and improve their depth and understanding of the Nature of Science. In turn, Ange and Delwyn will develop and implement a school wide programme to improve science teaching and learning at Fairhaven School.

Living and teaching in Te Puke, Ange is aware of the importance of primary industry such as kiwifruit and avocado.  Her placement at Plant and Food Research (Te Puke) gave her opportunities to participate in field and laboratory investigations, interacting with scientific and technical staff in a number of research programmes. Such programmes included the pollination, fruit set and fruit retention of avocado as well as kiwifruit flowering, guttation, bud rot and PSA tolerance in kiwifruit seedlings. Ange has seen how scientists invest a great deal of time planning the process before carefully observing and monitoring many details, often over years. By experiencing the Nature of Science strand in an applied science situation, she gained a broader appreciation of what scientists do and how they work collaboratively to meet practical and industry needs. 

A passionate educator, Ange is keen to develop and implement a science programme to improve science teaching and learning at Fairhaven School. She is looking forward to using new learning about the Nature of Science to explicitly teach science capabilities, to build curiosity and allow learners to successfully engage in authentic science experiences. Along with another STLP participating teacher, Delwyn Weaver, Ange will lead a middle syndicate with a strong science focus.  Science will be integrated with literacy and numeracy as a way to create strong, practical, authentic learning experiences. Her ultimate aim is to educate learners to participate as science literate citizens in society.

Through the professional learning workshops, Ange has gained a deeper understanding of ambitious science teaching and she looks forward to sharing this with her teaching colleagues through planned professional learning, providing practical ideas based on research. The leadership learning in the programme has enabled Ange to feel confident and capable to lead science teaching and learning. It encouraged her personal growth as a leader, allowing her to develop and understand her own leadership strengths and personality.

Ange has thoroughly enjoyed learning alongside the other participant teachers, who have readily shared their opinions and ideas.  She believes she has become a better teacher and a better person through her experiences with them.

Ange would like to thank the team at the Royal Society of New Zealand for providing two terms of challenge, fun and enlightenment.  She would also like to thank Executive Education, University of Otago for the thought provoking inspiration at the Leadership Course.  Special thanks to her host Plant and Food Research, Dr. Peter Minchin, Dr. Nick Gould and the staff of the Te Puke site for their time, patience and expertise. Ange appreciates Fairhaven School and her principal, Paul Hunt, for encouraging both Ange and co-leader Delwyn and supporting them on this journey.

Finally, Ange would like to acknowledge the funding invested by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to help ensure we have a nation of curious minds.