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Asia Knowledge Ministry of Education

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Asia and the school curriculum


Girl in red and blue Korean dress

The moral imperative of any school’s curriculum is to prepare learners for successful 21st century living. Given New Zealand’s key role in the Asia-Pacific region, the increasing diversity of New Zealand’s population, and the continued economic growth of Asia, schools need to include some Asian contexts within teaching and learning programmes to meet this imperative.

The New Zealand curriculum focuses on students being well equipped to succeed in a world of globalisation, cultural diversity, and rapidly changing technologies. Schools have the flexibility to design relevant and meaningful learning programmes to encourage students to become active and positive members of their local, national, and global communities.

The Key Competencies outline capabilities for living and lifelong learning. Developing learners’ Asian awareness within teaching and learning programmes can provide opportunities for the delivery of the key competencies.

The New Zealand Curriculum (p.39) states that the links between learning areas should be explored, leading to units of work designed to:

"develop students’ knowledge and understandings in relation to major social, political, and economic shifts of the day, for example, through studies of Asia and the Pacific Rim…".

Both The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa outline eight learning areas. The areas in which the study of Asia fits naturally include social sciences, learning languages, and the arts. Effective planning will help ensure Asian contexts and content can be integrated into a range of topics, themes, units, and incidental learning opportunities across all learning areas.

When considering how to integrate Asian contexts and content across these learning areas, teachers could consider:

  • the key concepts in the learning area that could support students’ understanding about Asia
  • appropriate up-to-date content and quality resources that reflect Asia’s diversity.

Refer to the school scans on Templates, tools, and resources.

Key questions to get you started

  • How do we currently integrate Asia into the curriculum?
  • How should we provide support for teachers and students?
  • What resources are available and needed for teachers and students?
  • In what learning areas do students need to acquire knowledge and understanding about Asia and New Zealand?
  • How can cross-curricula links be made?
  • How can Asian themes, issues, and events be embedded in the school curriculum at all levels?
  • What Asian themes, issues, and events are relevant and engaging to students, and at what level should they be introduced?
  • What professional support is available?

"Kia tipu au mō ngā rā o tōku ao"

"Help me prepare for my future in this world"

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