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Rachael DixonPhD Candidate


Tel 64 3 364 3616
Twitter @rachaeladixon

PhD topic

What stuck with you? Exploring the long-term learning outcomes of senior secondary school health education in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Supervisor: Associate Professor Gillian Abel


I enjoy thinking critically, being creative and innovative, as well as collaborating with other professionals.

I have been a secondary school teacher and provider of professional learning and development for teachers in the Health and Physical Education learning area across New Zealand.

I am experienced in curriculum and development/implementation of national qualifications in school-based health education. 

"I am a firm believer in the possibility that health education could play a role in developing the capabilities needed for people to thrive in the 21st century through such learning experiences as problem-solving, taking health promoting action and critically exploring population health issues."

Her professional affiliations include:

  • Co-chairperson of the New Zealand Health Education Association (NZHEA)
  • Ministry of Education accredited PLD facilitator
  • Fully certificated teacher.

Research objective

The research will explore and analyse learning outcomes of year 13 health education in New Zealand schools, connections between these and public health discourses, and to ideas relating to capabilities needed for people to thrive in a rapidly changing, globalised and culturally diverse 21st century world.

With relevance to health and education, and New Zealand and international communities, the research has the potential to inform both theory and practice in relation to the purposes of health education and how health education can be enacted in senior secondary school spaces.

The interdisciplinary nature of the study mirrors the multidisciplinary, complex and multi-faceted nature of health, education, learning and living in the 21st century.

Publications and presentations

  • Co-author of Alcohol and other drugs: A resource of teaching activities for teachers of students in year 9-11 (NZHEA, 2017).
  • Stock take of external providers supporting the Health and Physical Education learning area in collaboration with Cognition (for the Ministry of Education, 2016)
  • National workshops for Health and Physical Education secondary teachers (2012-2016) and workshops at annual PENZ/NZHEA/EONZ conference
  • Workshops for the implementation of Sexuality education: A guide for principals, boards of trustees and teachers (Ministry of Education, 2015).
  • Contributor to NZCER-published book: Teaching as Inquiry with a Focus on Priority Learners (Conner, 2015).
  • Co-author of four ESA-published study guides/leanring workbooks for NCEA Health Education in New Zealand.