A Remuera Intermediate science teacher is taking two terms out of the classroom to work with scientists as part of the Royal Society of New Zealand teacher fellowship programme.
The programme was introduced in 2009 after a report from the National Education Monitoring Project highlighting primary school students' decreasing interest in science.
Teachers get to work with scientists at organisations such as NIWA Science, Landcare Research and Plant & Food Research.
They then return to their school and work with other teachers to introduce innovative science programmes for pupils.
Remuera Intermediate teacher Wyn Morris is coming to the end of his five-month fellowship with Plant & Food Research in Mt Albert. He has been working alongside scientists investigating the cause and spread of PSA disease in kiwifruit.
Mr Morris has learnt about plant pathology and spent time in the lab growing and analysing bacteria on slides to see how long they survive.
He has also been out in the field at the Te Puke Plant & Food Research Station where he assisted scientists in their research on kiwifruit cultivation, the possible connection between cicadas and the PSA disease and different insecticide strengths.
He says he applied for the fellowship because he felt "out of touch with science" and wanted to update his skills and get the experience of working in a lab.
He's excited about the hands-on work he has done and the chance to experience science in the real world.
He says the scientists he worked with "want to do it because they love science and that's what really touched me because there's passion in it".
"I think for me, if I'm teaching, I should have the same passion," he says.
Remuera Intermediate School principal Janet Exon says the school places particular importance on its science programmes and is keen to focus on plants and environmental science next year.
"With National Standards and the emphasis on reading, writing and maths, it's important to have an emphasis on science."
She says Mr Morris will "bring back the idea that what we are doing in school is what real scientists are doing".
"His job will be to be an expert, to teach the teachers and they can teach the kids."
Mr Morris says he also attended a leadership conference and a course at Otago University as part of the fellowship.
"That helps us think about being a leader in the school, what's my vision, what's my focus."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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