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Financial capability – approaches to teaching and learning

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Meriane Brown, from Aorere College, facilitates her year 13 students’ learning about financial capability within the context of setting up and running their own business over a year. Identifying what motivates students, recognising the impact of students’ values and culture on learning, and providing an authentic learning context engages students, giving them ownership of their own learning and contributing to the successful approach Meriane has developed in her classroom.

Professional learning conversations

These questions and suggested actions encourage you to reflect on your own school context.

Inclusive environment

"Learning is inseparable from its social and cultural context. Students learn best when they feel accepted, enjoy positive relationships with their fellow students and teachers, and when they are active, visible members of the learning community."

The New Zealand Curriculum, p. 34

  • In what ways do your students articulate the financial capabilities they are developing as part of their learning? (This includes knowledge, key competencies, and values.)
  • How do you find out about how different cultural values affect the financial decisions of your students?
  • How do you ensure that teachers are using financial capability resources and learning experiences that provide inclusive language and approaches to suit your student needs?

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Taking Part in Economic Communities (PDF 2.4MB)
This resource, from The Building Conceptual Understandings in Social Sciences Series, provides ways to develop students’ financial literacy in the context of a social sciences learning programme. It inludes unit plans that are aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum


Meriane Brown

We have a large number of Pasifika students in our business department and in the school in general, and what we’ve discovered throughout the years is that a lot of our mainly Pasifika students aren’t massively motivated by profit. The fact that maybe their business is going to be so successful there will be a lot of profit at the end, it doesn’t motivate them. They’re not excited by it. What we have discovered though is that they get a real sense of satisfaction and pleasure and self-worth, I think, from giving, and as a result a lot of our business ventures end up being not-for-profit organisations. My role as a teacher, I think, is really just to facilitate. It’s to encourage, give them a bit of a push if momentum starts to slow down. If they come across a situation they maybe haven’t incurred before and they’re not quite sure what steps to take next, it’s about presenting them with options and helping them think that through.

Student one

Working independently made me learn how to experience new things by myself instead of relying on other people.

Student two

I think it’s good to plan then action out what we’ve planned. That’s the only way we’d be able to learn stuff… it’s not just doing our theory, writing all these plans and not doing it because we won’t really learn for ourselves, so I think having that firsthand experience is really good going alongside with learning stuff.

Meriane Brown

What you’re doing is you’re facilitating learning and you’re giving them the opportunity to really come up with their own ideas and really develop their business model in their own way. So while a lot of our groups want to be able to give and help and we use that to encourage and motivate them, we’re also using it to teach them that they can’t do that effectively without all of the financial knowledge and the financial planning and that financial literacy and capability that needs to happen for their business venture to be successful.

Published on: 25 Nov 2013