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Freyburg High School - Karyn Gordon

2018 | Preparing for Rūaumoko: analysing the impact of volcanic hazards

School: Freyburg High School

Host: Institute of Agriculture and Environment, Massey University

Region: Palmerston North, Manawatu

In 2016, Freyberg High School joined 9 primary schools to form the Palmerston North East Community of Learning (CoL). As part of CoL the school identified a key target as improving the engagement and achievement of students as active and self-directed learners through science and technology. As the only high school in the group, Freyberg High School is very aware that only 46% of their students continue on to Level 2/3 Science subjects, therefore they are hoping to increase the participation in these senior subjects as well as increasing the level of achievement. By having Karyn participate in the Science Teaching Leadership Programme, the school hopes to improve in this area by starting at the grass roots of Years 9 and 10. The school wants students to develop a greater depth and understanding of the Nature of Science, which should then have a positive impact on senior science subjects.

Karyn has been teaching for 9 years, eight of which have been at Freyberg High School. During this time she has taught Junior Science and Senior Biology. Karyn aims to break down the barriers to science learning and make it more relevant to students. She also hopes to connect Māori learners with science through the teaching of the Science Capabilities. 

Working alongside Jon Procter and the Volcanic Risk Solutions team from Massey University, Karyn has gained insight into the diverse world of Geoscience, been introduced to the many challenges facing us today and witnessed how possible solutions are found by collaboration of different cultures using the wealth of knowledge they hold. Discussing what science looks like to the various disciplines has been instrumental in the development and understanding of the Nature of Science. It isn’t always in the things you can see but in an inner dialogue of reflection, scrutiny and evaluation. Science is constantly changing and to be accepted it must meet the parameters of which science adheres to. Karyn hopes to bring this new understanding of NOS into the classroom so students will have a more enriched, relevant and connected science curriculum.

This has truly been a life changing experience, the personal growth and confidence Karyn has gained from working in the unfamiliar is without parallel. She would like to express her deepest gratitude to Jon Procter, Anja Moebis and the Earth Science department for their time, passion and encouragement. Heartfelt thanks goes to the Royal Society Te Apārangi and Freyberg High School for their continuing devotion to the betterment of science teachers.