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Exploring the curriculum principles

These resources support school leaders and teachers to develop deeper thinking around TheNew Zealand Curriculum principles within a school curriculum.

Consider the curriculum principles

Place each principle on a continuum from those of which you have a surface level of understanding, demonstrated by slight shifts in learning and teaching practice, through to those of which you have a deep understanding, demonstrated by significant shifts in learning and teaching practice. 

PDF icon. Curriculum principles continuum (PDF, 52 KB)

Read and discuss the introduction to the principles (The New Zealand Curriculum, p. 9)

  • NZC Principles.
    What do you understand by the term "principles"?
  • What are the common ideas about the principles?
  • What are the issues with developing the principles in the curriculum?
  • What are the implications for us?

Use the following questions to explore each principle and its supporting statement:

Developing understandings

  1. What do I understand by this principle (for example, inclusion)?
  2. What do we collectively understand by this principle?
  3. What do we believe about this principle?
  4. What are common or possible misunderstandings about this principle?
  5. What do we perceive as important about this principle for our students?

Reflecting on practice

  1. What do we currently do in our school that reflects this principle? Why do we do that?
  2. What do we expect to see in teaching and learning practice as this principle is evidenced?
  3. What do we need to do to improve our school practices to better reflect our beliefs about this principle?
  4. How does our curriculum support and empower all students to develop and address this principle?
  5. How are students able to take responsibility for adopting this principle in the classroom?
  6. What skills, attitudes, knowledge, and values do I/we need to adopt to ensure this principle is implemented?

Stories and examples

Rallying interest in school curriculum review
Boulcott School began their curriculum journey with a car rally. Staff completed a series of rally tasks designed to help them think about and discuss important aspects of the school curriculum. A focus on the principles helped to establish new priorities for the school.

Evaluative research

ERO has conducted two national evaluations looking at the extent to which principles of TheNew Zealand Curriculum are evident in schools' curricula and enacted in classrooms. The reports provide examples of good practice and suggest steps for further development.

The New Zealand Curriculum Principles: Foundations for Curriculum Decision-Making

(published 19/7/2012)

This report looks at the extent to which the principles of The New Zealand Curriculum are evident in schools’ curricula and enacted in classrooms.

Directions for learning: The New Zealand Curriculum Principles, and teaching as inquiry May 2011

(published 22/7/11)

This report investigates how schools have used the eight principles and the teaching-as-inquiry process as outlined in The New Zealand Curriculum.

Have you seen?

The role of the principles
This curriculum update aims to promote dialogue and develop understandings about the role of the curriculum principles in designing and reviewing the school curriculum.

Use the NZC principles to guide changes to your school curriculum

Road sign graphic.

This section presents the NZC principles as a possible pathway for curriculum review. Find review tools, research, resources, and school stories to help you get the list of principles off the page, into your minds, and influencing how you view and construct your curriculum.

Published on: 19 Apr 2013


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