Dr Simon P Taylor

Simon Taylor


Qualifications: PhD, MSc, BSc, Dip Tchg

Personal Website:

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.  He made his first telescope to observe the moon phases when he was eight and years later he graduated with a  Bachelor of Science in physics at the University of Auckland, solely going there because there was astrophysics. 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 secondary schools throughout NZ and in London, 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 is a National facilitator and curriculum specialist in physics. He is a researcher of students' perceptions of science learning, and graduated with a PhD in 2013. 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 education, physics and science education and is a supervisor for Masters and PhD students.

Simon's research interest lies in the areas of student voice, student perspectives in secondary and tertiary environments, futurist learning, youth empowerment and education design. He is a keen advocate to encourage greater consultation with students in their learning, creating change in classroom culture, school culture and empowering both worlds of the learner and teacher. Simon has also publicly lectured in astrophysics, nuclear fusion, cosmo-chemistry, the beauty of physics and music, the physics of surfing 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

Papers Taught

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

Find more research publications by Simon Taylor


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