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New Zealand Curriculum Online navigation

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Learning areas

Important for a broad, general education

The New Zealand Curriculum specifies eight learning areas: English, the arts, health and physical education, learning languages, mathematics and statistics, science, social sciences, and technology.

The learning associated with each area is part of a broad, general education and lays a foundation for later specialisation. Like the key competencies, this learning is both end and means: valuable in itself and valuable for the pathways it opens to other learning.

While the learning areas are presented as distinct, this should not limit the ways in which schools structure the learning experiences offered to students. All learning should make use of the natural connections that exist between learning areas and that link learning areas to the values and key competencies.

Learning areas and language

Each learning area has its own language or languages. As students discover how to use them, they find they are able to think in different ways, access new areas of knowledge, and see their world from new perspectives.

For each area, students need specific help from their teachers as they learn:

  • the specialist vocabulary associated with that area
  • how to read and understand its texts
  • how to communicate knowledge and ideas in appropriate ways
  • how to listen and read critically, assessing the value of what they hear and read.

In addition to such help, students who are new learners of English or coming into an English-medium environment for the first time need explicit and extensive teaching of English vocabulary, word forms, sentence and text structures, and language uses.

As language is central to learning and English is the medium for most learning in the New Zealand Curriculum, the importance of literacy in English cannot be overstated.

English learning area image.

In English, students study, use, and enjoy language and literature communicated orally, visually, or in writing.

arts learning area image.

In the arts, students explore, refine, and communicate ideas as they connect thinking, imagination, senses, and feelings to create works and respond to the works of others.

Health learning area image.

In health and physical education, students learn about their own well-being, and that of others and society, in health-related and movement contexts.

Learning languages image.

In learning languages, students learn to communicate in an additional language, develop their capacity to learn further languages, and explore different world views in relation to their own.

Maths icon.

In mathematics and statistics, students explore relationships in quantities, space, and data and learn to express these relationships in ways that help them to make sense of the world around them.

Science learning area image.

In science, students explore how both the natural physical world and science itself work so that they can participate as critical, informed, and responsible citizens in a society in which science plays a significant role.

Social sciences learning area image.

In the social sciences, students explore how societies work and how they themselves can participate and take action as critical, informed, and responsible citizens.

Technology learning area image.

In technology, students learn to be innovative developers of products and systems and discerning consumers who will make a difference in the world.

Published on: 18 Sep 2007


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