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Social studies in the New Zealand curriculum - the diversity angle

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First school level - understand groups

At the first level in New Zealand schools students of social studies are expected to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of why people belong to groups. It is basic to our social organization. It is a step to understanding cultural diversity.

Second - participation

In their second level students study how and why groups are organized within communities and societies. At this early stage they also study how participation within groups involves both responsibilities and rights.

Organise in response

As students get older, in level four, they are focused on how people organize themselves in response to challenge and crisis.

Systems of government

It is in level five social studies students study how systems of government are organized and affect peoples’ lives. At this level they also study how and why people seek to gain and maintain social justice and human rights.

Social organisation strand aim

The aim of the social organization strand in the curriculum is for students to understand Peoples’ organization in groups, and,
The rights, roles, and responsibilities of people as they interact within groups.

Aim of culture and heritage strand

The aim of the culture and heritage strand is for students to understand
The contribution of culture and heritage to identity, and,
The nature and consequences of cultural interaction.

At the first school level students are expected to study features of the culture and heritage of their own and other groups.

By level three studies in the culture and heritage strand focus students on ways in which the movement of peoples affects cultural diversity and interaction.

National identity

Students of social studies have quite a few opportunities to study cultural diversity. At the fifth level the focus is on ways in which cultural and national identity develop and are maintained.

Leave school, understand cultural diversity

In the end of secondary school, level eight, students can study attitudes of individuals and groups towards cultural diversity within communities and nations, and the implications of these attitudes.

And there are more opportunities – and need - in schools to study cultural diversity.

Foreign Minister viewpoint

As New Zealand's then Foreign Minister Phil Goff said at Asia 2000’s 10th birthday in 2004, underlying all New Zealand’s political, security and economic work with Asia are the fundamental goals of enhancing public understanding of Asia in New Zealand and of New Zealand in Asia. He says New Zealanders must do more listening and learning, not just selling and telling.

“We need to look at ways to integrate Asian subjects into school curricula, to develop research capability, and to teach Asian languages. We also need to break out of our comfort zones and tap into the skills and expertise held by New Zealand's Asian communities. These communities are the 'human bridges' between this country and the Asia region” he says

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