In her 46 years of teaching in New Zealand, Azra has taught in early childhood, primary, and secondary schools. She was involved in science teacher education from 2000 to 2020. She believes this has provided an insight into the New Zealand learner at all stages of their learning journey.
As a researcher, she believes her research matters because it deals with current issues in science education. Her research is embedded in the classroom and provides a link between teacher education and science teaching in schools. One of the inspirations for her research has been the students she teaches and the classrooms where she has conducted her research.
Azra has had the privilege to work with some of the best science teachers in New Zealand, and one of the important aspects of her job as a researcher has been that her research has informed her teaching. She likes seeing her ideas and research findings being implemented in the classrooms by the student teachers she has had the opportunity to educate.
Azra is humbled by receiving excellence in teaching awards which include the NiETA Excellence in teaching award (1996); Victoria University of Wellington Excellence in teaching award (2014) and the National Ako Aotearoa Tertiary Excellence in Teaching (2016). She has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) in recognition of her contribution to science education and the community (2020).
Her doctoral research investigated the connectedness of motivation to learn, learning and assessment in the context of science investigation in year 11. Her continued interest in science education research has led to supervision of several doctoral theses. She has researched teaching and learning through science investigation in primary and secondary schools and in Kura Kaupapa Māori (indigenous) schools. Her thesis students have investigated achievement of Māori and Pasifika students in science.
Azra has published over 40 journal articles and chapters in books and is an author of the following six books.