Dr Simon P Taylor

Simon Taylor



Curriculum; Education; Learning Environment; Music; Physics; Science; Science Education; Teacher Education; Teacher Practice/Practicum; Teaching; Teaching and Learning

Qualifications: PhD, MSc, BSc, Dip Tchg

Personal Website:

Papers Taught

About Simon

Simon was born in Gisborne and his passion for astronomy as a young boy was sparked when his Scottish grandmother came to live. He remembers how they would  lie under the starry summer skies chatting about moon exploration, time travel and space rockets.  His mother developed his interests in drama, music, visual art and the natural world, where they would spend days exploring the botanical gardens, the local art gallery and museum. Years later Simon graduated with a  Bachelor of Science at the University of Auckland. Simon's teaching career began in the 1980s in south Auckland where he was fortunate to have much creative freedom in teaching science, chemistry and physics. He has taught in schools throughout NZ and in the UK, had the role of HOD Science at Te Puke High School, and was the Secondary Science Adviser for the Central North Island for 13 years, he has had the role of a national facilitator and curriculum developer for NCEA assessment programmes and associated curriculum programmes for schools which reflect their culture, identity, language, interests and whānau aspirations. He has researched  Year 9 and 10 students' perceptions of learning in a three year curriculum project PLUTO Please Let Us Take Off and graduated with a doctorate in 2013 using  a mixed methodology to explore constructivist  pedagogies.

Simon is currently a lecturer with the Faculty of Education at the Durham street city campus in Tauranga and the convener for the Science (SIG) New Zealand Association of Research Education. He lectures in the Future Focussed Teacher and Evidence Based Practice papers, physics and science education papers, is a coordinator for practicum experiences in the Bay of Plenty region, and is a supervisor for Masters and doctorate  students.

Simon's research and teaching interest lie in the areas of integrated curriculum, co-constructive and culture specific pedagogies  with acknowledgment  to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, Te Marautanga Aotearoa cultural socio-health well being, story telling of natural worlds, tikanga perspectives of Pūtaiao, Māori and Pacifica student cultural perspectives in classroom learning, Reggio Emilia pedagogy, teacher voice in primary, secondary and tertiary environments, futurist learning, youth empowerment and curriculum programme design. He uses an interpretative qualitative case study lens and a range of quantitative tools such as the Constructivist Learning Environment Survey to investigate current learning environments. He is a keen advocate to encourage greater consultation with students, teachers and senior management, creating change in classroom culture, school culture and empowering both worlds of the learner and teacher. His vision is to promote the love of learning, and facilitate learning and teaching programmes which consider all voice and perspective with emphasis to culture and identity. Simon has also publicly lectured in astrophysics, nuclear fusion, cosmo-chemistry, the beauty of physics and music, the physics of trees and learning futures.

Simon was awarded a Division Teaching Excellence Award in 2020, and the Kudos Science Educator award in 2014 in recognition of his outstanding contribution towards encouraging an understanding and appreciation of science to youth and the wider community.

  • WOMAD 2020 STEAM lab presentation. What is Cosmic Dancing? Black holes, Stars, Planet Earth and Cosmic particles 7.30pm Saturday 14th March 2020, Pukekura Park, New Plymouth.
  • Creative Sparks presentation Sunday June 3 2018, celebrating an object from the Tauranga Museum collection, 3.30pm onwards at Baycourt theatre
  • "Future Space Travel, Massive Black holes and Cosmic Dancing in the Universe" -Public lecture Cafe Scientifique, Tauranga,  May 2017
  • Keynote speaker Cafe Scientifique Tauranga. "The beauty of Physics and Music" 22nd February 2016
  • Invited speaker-Inspire Festival Nelson 13-15 April 2016 and Scicon 2016.
  • "Tricks, Tips and Toys" Science Symposium Nov 11 November 2016 St Peter's School, Cambridge

Research Interests

Simon's current research is with student voice and student perspectives in their learning, using both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Learner centric frameworks, socio-scientific inquiry issue based learning, knowledge building pedagogy, networked learning, classroom climate, qualitative interviews, learning drawings and cognitive understanding are areas of interest. Please get in touch if you are interested in doing post-graduate research: [email protected]

Current PhD supervision for Julie Hest.  The pedagogical architecture of Modern Leaning Environments: Case study research in four New Zealand secondary schools.

Current PhD supervision for Alvin Chand. A study investigating Fijian students' perceptions in science education in  New Zealand  secondary schools.

Current PhD supervision for Kerry N- Garrett. Exploring shifts in teaching practice through the use of digital technology in the mathematics classroom: A qualitative study.

PhD supervision for Jared Carpendale (completed in 2018), Collaborative Core Design and Implementation for Electricity And Magnetism: Enhancing Practising Science Teachers’ PCK

Recent Publications

  • Taylor, S. (2021). The role of futures thinking through diorama modelling. In NZARE Virtual Conference: Learning in Crisis. Virtual.

  • Taylor, S. (2021). The physics of trees. In NZIP & Physikos 2021. Queens College Wellington.

  • Taylor, S. (2021). Exploring a future world with students. Ipu Kererū. Blog of NZARE. Retrieved from

  • Chand, A. V., Sharma, S., & Taylor, S. (2021). Weaving CLES-FS and talanoa to capture Fijian student's science learnings: Exploring possibilities. Waikato Journal of Education, 26, 195-209. doi:10.15663/wje.v26i1.782

Find more research publications by Simon Taylor