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Future focus

This section draws together research, digital resources, and examples to support teachers as they consider the future focus principle. 

Resources and inspiration

The NZC future focus principle contains the following themes and more...


Valerie Hannon: What is school for? 
In this Radio New Zealand interview, Valerie Hannon discusses the changes required to education to help students thrive in a transforming world.

The essence of school leadership for the 21st century
Jeff Johnstone, principal of Willow Park School, explains the essence of school leadership for the 21st century.

Diplomatic Courier: Jobs of the future
This crowdsourced, brainstorming exercise explores the jobs of tomorrow in response to socioeconomic trends and technological advances.

Edudemic: The 8 skills students must have for the future
Dr Tony Wagner, co-director of Harvard's Change Leadership Group, has identified the "global achievement gap", which is the divide between what schools are teaching and the must-have skills students need for a successful future.

Virtual Learning Network – Future Focus NZC principle
This network is an interactive place to share ideas, resources, and stories about the future focus principle.

Dare to Imagine. What will the world look like in 50 years time?
The problems facing our world are so large that they demand disruptive thinking. It's time to challenge the status quo, and dare to imagine what we can do.

Of all the people in all the world 
This video uses grains of rice to bring formally abstract statistics to startling and powerful life.

The future belongs to the curious
From the moment we open our eyes it fuels our existence. This video aims to remind everyone to never lose their sense of curiosity or wonder.

Meet the future – living in space
The future is amazing and we need to remember that – always – in whatever field of education that we work. 

Boss Level: Collaborative student-led learning at Quest to Learn
This resource explains how game-based learning creates an engaging, collaborative learning space where students use their successes and failures to create and apply new knowledge.


The curriculum envisions young people:

... "who will seize the opportunities offered by new knowledge and technologies to secure a sustainable social, cultural, economic, and environmental future for our country" (NZC, p. 8).

Sustainability is a key science and social sciences concept. However, all learning areas provide opportunities for students to explore the impact of social, scientific, and economic practices on society and the environment and to evaluate alternatives. Many New Zealand schools approach sustainability through a focus on the environment. While this is important, it is vital for students to see and discuss sustainability as a broad concept. For example, the revival of tikanga and te reo Māori can be seen as about the sustainability of a whole culture.

Education for sustainability can be offered as a subject specialisation at curriculum levels 6–8.

(NZC Update 15 – Future focus principle)

Climate Change Learning Programme – Teacher Resource
This level 4 programme aims to: increase awareness of climate change and explain the role science plays in understanding it; understand both the response to and impacts of climate change – globally, nationally and locally; explore and act on opportunities to contribute to reducing and adapting to the impact of climate change on everyday life.

PDF icon. Climate Change Learning Programme – Teacher Resource (PDF, 7 MB)

Climate Change Learning Programme – Wellbeing Guide
The Climate Change Wellbeing Guide has been developed to provide teachers with background information and tailored resources to help them navigate the delivery of climate change scientific content, whilst maintaining the wellbeing/hauora of students.

PDF icon. Climate Change Learning Programme – Wellbeing Guide (PDF, 762 KB)

Putātara – a call to action
Incorporating sustainability and global citizenship across the curriculum in Aotearoa New Zealand. This resource supports schools and teachers to develop learning opportunities that are place-based, inquiry-led, and focused on participation for change. Read more in About this resource.

Education for sustainability kete
This website helps teachers to engage students in learning about sustainability and to encourage them to act sustainably and contribute to New Zealand’s well-being. It makes connections between the learning areas, vision, principles, values, and key competencies of The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa.

Education for sustainability programme:

Enviroschools Foundation

TED Talks:

Jamais Cascio on tools for a better world

Jonathan Drori on why we're storing billions of seeds – encouraging us to save biodiversity

Kent Larson on designs for future cities

Alex Steffen on the shareable future of cities

Rob Hopkins on transition to a world without oil

Future of Humanity Institute
The Future of Humanity Institute is a multidisciplinary research institute at the University of Oxford.  It enables a select set of intellects to bring careful thinking to bear on big-picture questions about humanity and its prospects.  

Tread Lightly [+ citizenship]
Innovative online educational tools and resources designed to empower youth to reduce their ecological footprints and take action on climate change. 

Renewable Energy – Ideas in practice for a sustainable future
Learn about energy, renewable energy, the carbon cycle, energy in biomass, energy in wood pellets, and the use of wood pellets as a renewable energy source for heating in homes, schools and elsewhere. Start with a crash-course on renewable energy and see examples in action of geothermal, solar, wind, and hydro power. 

YouTube videos:

The next ten years will be very unlike the last 10 years

The Story of Stuff – environmental and social issues [+ citizenship]
A community of problem solvers – parents, community leaders, teachers and students, people of faith, entrepreneurs, scientists, and more – working to create a more healthy and just world. 


Enterprise involves:

...“exploring what it is to be innovative and entrepreneurial” (NZC, p. 39).

The curriculum intends a broad definition of the concept that includes examining what it means to be an enterprising person and why enterprise is important to our future as a society. This is expressed in the vision for young people to be “creative, energetic, and enterprising” (p. 8), and in the values of innovation, inquiry, and curiosity.

Education for, about, and in enterprise connects students to real issues in their community. It is cross-curricular, but has particularly strong connections to the social sciences.

At levels 1–5, the concept of enterprise is most strongly related to the economic world strand of the social sciences learning area. At levels 6–8, students can explore it within disciplines such as economics and business studies. 

(NZC Update 15 – Future focus principle)

Education for Enterprise
The Education for Enterprise community provides information and resources that will help students develop the values and competencies they will need to participate and contribute locally and globally and meet the demands of a rapidly changing world.

NZ Senior Secondary Curriculum Guide: Business studies
Business studies sits at one end of the education for enterprise continuum. The guide includes useful information for schools designing effective programmes for Māori students of business studies, who have a unique cultural advantage in this learning area, and for all students who are using a Māori business as a case study. 

Business studies and the future focus principle

Financial literacy programmes:

Young Enterprise Trust


Globalisation is:

...“a series of processes that have caused human activities to become more interconnected and interdependent across the world” (Being Part of Global Communities, 2009, p. 2).

It is a consequence of rapid economic, social, political, and environmental changes, largely driven by information and communication technologies (ICT), and is also an accelerant of further change.

Globalisation is a contested concept with perceived positive and negative effects. Students need opportunities to think critically about the issues associated with globalisation and how it affects their participation in society and responsibilities towards others. 

(NZC Update 15 – Future focus principle)

Derek Wenmoth’s blog on globalisation
Musings on the use and impact of technology in education, and of the future of education in general.

Asia Knowledge – Asia aware
Learning about Asia is central to developing our children and young people’s global knowledge – a concept reflected in the values and vision of both Te Marautanga o Aotearoa and The New Zealand Curriculum.

ASIA:NZ – Educating for Asia
Information, resources, and professional development opportunities to help school leaders develop students with the skills and knowledge they’ll need to embrace future prospects in Asia.

Asia Society
Global competence is a crucial upgrade if our education system is to prepare the next generation for the knowledge economy.

BCUSS: Being Part of Global Communities (PDF 5MB)
This resource examines the concepts being part of global communities and globalisation. It considers why these concepts are important and explores ways to develop understandings about them through teaching and learning in social studies.

YouTube videos:

Did You Know? A short video on how technology has changed society

Empowers youth to understand and act on the world's greatest challenges.

CORE's Suzie Vesper describes the Taking IT Global project, a website offering the resources and tools to network with students from around the world. She also talks about TIGed, an education space where teachers can set up a virtual classroom.


Citizenship can be defined as:

...“the relationship between a person and their community” (Belonging and Participating in Society, 2008, p. 5).

The New Zealand Curriculum provides a framework within which young New Zealanders gain the knowledge, competencies, and values to be successful citizens in the modern world and understand how they can contribute to the development and well-being of society. These opportunities arise across the curriculum and within and outside the classroom.

The social sciences learning area has a particular focus on how societies work and how students can participate as critical, active, and informed citizens. 

(NZC Update 15 – Future focus principle)

Social Sciences Online: Tax education and citizenship
The theme of citizenship can be embedded within a wide range of learning contexts, including taxation. This online resource has been designed as two units, using the social inquiry approach, for level 4 (year 7/8) and 5 (year 9/10) of The New Zealand Curriculum.

BCUSS: Belonging and Participating in Society (PDF 3.4MB)
This resources examines the concepts of belonging and participating in society. It considers why these concepts are important and explores ways to develop understandings about them through teaching and learning in social studies.

Oxfam: Education for Global citizenship – A guide for schools
Education for Global Citizenship enables pupils to develop the knowledge, skills, and values needed for securing a just and sustainable world in which all may fulfil their potential.

WikiEducator: Digital citizenship guidelines
A collection of digital citizenship guidelines, resources, and strategies.

MYD: Youth parliament
Youth Parliament is an opportunity for young New Zealanders to influence government decision-making as active citizens and have their views heard by key decision-makers and the public.

Youth APEC

UN Youth delegate programme
One form of youth participation at the United Nations is through the inclusion of youth delegates in a country's official delegation to the United Nations General Assembly and various functional Commissions of the Economic and Social Council. 

Be the change today for tomorrow
A film about remembering important values for ourselves and for our community.

Edutopia: Global competence [+ globalisation + sustainability + enterprise]
Teaching young learners to take action for worldwide impact.

Updated on: 24 Jan 2020