Social studies in the New Zealand curriculum
- the diversity angle
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
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,
The rights, roles, and responsibilities of people as they interact
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.
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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