Waikato Journal of Education


social science
social action
young people

How to Cite

Ram, R. (2022). Teaching with biosecurity content in the social sciences learning area: A Year 13 social science teacher’s experience. Waikato Journal of Education, 27(3), 143–157. https://doi.org/10.15663/wje.v27i3.878


In this era of pandemics, asylum seekers, and conflict between super powers, social sciences are a critical subject that can help develop young people who can not only recognise racial and social discrimination but also injustices at a regional, national, and global scale.

Mainstream subjects, such as sociology, routinely support learning in the social sciences area. As a science/biology teacher, I wanted to find out whether biosecurity science could be used to support learning in the social sciences area. My interest in biosecurity stems from personal and professional experiences in New Zealand. Further, in my own pedagogical experience, teaching science/biology in schools, I found young people (15–18 years) were unfamiliar with the concept of biosecurity in New Zealand.

Considering my experiences, I set out to conduct research to look at the efficacy of using biosecurity in teaching and learning. This paper reports on the experience of one Year 13 social science teacher who used biosecurity content to teach in the social sciences learning area. Classroom observations and individual teacher interviews were used to gather data. The results show that biosecurity content engaged Year 13 social sciences students in the classroom and that the teacher used transformational learning theory to engage his students into undertaking social action related to biosecurity. Given the importance of biosecurity to New Zealand, this paper shows that social sciences as a learning area could support teaching and learning about biosecurity.


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