A/Prof  Helen Boon teaches in the areas of research methods, educational psychology, special educational needs and behaviour management, as well as ethics education and science education for  Primary Specialists in Science.

Helen was Head of Education 2017 - 2019 and during that time instigated a number of innovations and initiatives, including the Future Teachers Project with the Department of Education, the Education Conversation with the Deparment of Education, and Catholic Education in Townsville and Cairns and the Supervising Teacher Awards for Townsville and Cairns. Prior to that Helen was Bachelor of Education Coordinator for several years.

A/ Prof Boon whose research is nationally and internationally recognised, has a strong research interest and experience in resilience, climate change and the intersection of ethics, climate change and adaptation to climate change. Helen initially  trained in Chemistry and Physiology obtaining a double First Class Honours Bachelor of Science degree and then taught Chemistry and Mathematics for a number of years.  Preferred research methods are quantitative, including statistical modelling and Rasch modelling, unique in the Education staff profile at JCU. 

Helen has led as Chief Investigator (CI) a number of interdisciplinary and national projects:  a WIL project with partners from the School of  Medicine, a Collaboration Across Boundaries Project with the School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation Sciences,  and an NCCARF funded project with the  School of  Earth and Environmental Sciences and Charles Sturt University.  Moreover, Helen was Chief Investigator on an ARC funded project examining the most effective pedagogies for Indigenous students.

Helen has completed a range of research consultancies and is currently working on a research project around teacher ethics with a Canadian collaborator Prof Bruce Maxwell,  funded by the Canadian Council of Social Science.

Recent publications including a longitudinal study about climate change education and pre-service teacher attitudes and knowledge are available at:  http://ro.ecu.edu.au/ajte/vol41/iss4/3/  and a paper about the dearth of ethics training in preservice teacher programs across Australia is available at: http://ro.ecu.edu.au/ajte/vol41/iss5.

Helen has been invited as a keynote speaker on a number of conferences, nationally and internationally in the area of community resilience. Additionally, Helen has been interviewed on national media around her research and publications on community resilience,  and more recently on the neuroscience of ADHD. In 2020 her timely research publication on the  appropriate use of iPad technologies was flagged in over 140 media mentions and  interviews.

A more recent publication highlights the difficulties that prospective teachers have in navigating codes of ethics in relation to teaching anthropogenic climate change : 


Boon, H.J. (2023). Applications of codes of teacher ethics in the context of anthropogenic climate change. Teachers and Teaching, DOI: 10.1080/13540602.2023.2282490  https://doi.org/10.1080/13540602.2023.2282490


Challenges that are experienced in the context of science education are discussed in a book Helen coauthored and published in 2023: 

Thomas G & Boon HJ (2023) Challenges in Science Education Global Perspectives for the Future. This book blends theory and practice to deliver insights for STEs (science teacher educators) and policymakers. https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-031-18092-7


Helen has been a Fellow of the Cairns Institute since 2010.

  • ED4623: Teachers as Ethical and Collaborative Change Agents (Level 4; TSV)
  • ED5950: Learning for Diverse Learners in Primary School Contexts (Level 5; CNS & TSV)
  • ED5955: Learners and Learning in Secondary School Contexts (Level 5; CNS & TSV)
  • On review board of Journal of Teacher Education, Australian Journal of Teacher Education, Regional Environmental Change, Australian Journal of Emergency management, Disasters, British Educational Research Journal, Natural Disasters, Australian Educational Researcher, Psychological Reports, British Journal of Educational Psychology, Alberta Journal of Education, Australian Psychologist, Australian Journal of Environmental Education.
  • Climate change and resilience. Ethics and teacher professional behaviour, culturally responsive pedagogies
  • Bronfenbrenner's ecological theory of development, the contribution of parents, teachers and peers to the academic and life trajectories of students at risk.
  • Self-efficacy and teaching competence.
  • Motivation, goals and beliefs and coping.
  • Parenting and its impacts upon development and academic achievement.
  • Indigenous student's academic development.
  • Attitudes to science education, in particular to chemistry and dispositions and beliefs about science.
  • Climate change, sustainable development and science education
  • Mixed method research techniques, including structural equation modeling, Rasch analysis and narrative analysis.
  • Neuroscience and the (mis)application of neuroscience to education.
  • 2016 to 2024 - A/ Professor, JCU (Townsville)
  • 2012 to 2024 - ARC REVIEWER, Australian Research Council (Australia)
  • 2017 to 2019 - Dean Education, James Cook University (Townsville)
  • 2012 to 2016 - Chief Investigator, ARC Linkage (Townsville)
  • 2011 to 2015 - Senior lecturer, JCU (Townsville)
  • 2010 to 2012 - Chief Investigator, NCCARF Project (Townsville)
  • 2010 to 2011 - Consultancy, JCU- CERF Project (CERF - Townsville)
  • 2007 to 2010 - Lecturer, JCU (Townsville)
  • 2008 to 2009 - Consultancy, JCU (EIDOS Project 062)
  • 2007 to 2008 - Researcher, JCU-SiMERR project (Townsville)
Research Disciplines
Socio-Economic Objectives
  • 2016 - Commendation for Publications Completed (2015), College of Arts, Society and Education, James Cook University
  • 2011 - Research Performance Award: External Research Income 2010-12, Faculty of Arts, Education and Social Sciences, James Cook University
  • 2013- Commendation for most Publications Completed (2010-2012), College of Arts, Society and Education, James Cook University
  • 2015 - Research Performance Award: External Research Income 2013-15, College of Arts, Society and Education, James Cook University
  • 2018 - Commendation for Publications Completed (2017), College of Arts, Society and Education, James Cook University
  • 2017 - Commendation for Publications Completed (2016), College of Arts, Society and Education, James Cook University
  • 2005 to 2006 - GROWING THE SMART STATE: A PhD Research Funding Program Students from LSES Backgrounds
  • 1990 to 1991 - Chemical Industry (UK): Scholarship: preparing for chemistry teaching.

These are the most recent publications associated with this author. To see a detailed profile of all publications stored at JCU, visit ResearchOnline@JCU. Hover over Altmetrics badges to see social impact.

Journal Articles
Book Chapters
Conference Papers

ResearchOnline@JCU stores 97+ research outputs authored by A/Prof Helen Boon from 2005 onwards.


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These Higher Degree Research projects are either current or by students who have completed their studies within the past 5 years at JCU. Linked titles show theses available within ResearchOnline@JCU.


The map shows research collaborations by institution from the past 7 years.
Note: Map points are indicative of the countries or states that institutions are associated with.

  • 5+ collaborations
  • 4 collaborations
  • 3 collaborations
  • 2 collaborations
  • 1 collaboration
  • Indicates the Tropics (Torrid Zone)

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