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How are connections made to prior learning and experience?

Coherence discussion tool

This tool enables teachers in your secondary school to explore how well they know their students. Ask teachers to reflect on their findings at a staff or department meeting.

SML discussion tool - Coherence.

PDF icon. Connection to prior learning - Coherence discussion tool (PDF, 304 KB)

How much does your staff know about the learning your students are undertaking in other subjects or learning areas?
Student carving.

  • How do your students explain how the learning they do in your subject has relevance in other subjects or learning areas?
  • What considerations are given to providing real-life examples that are relevant to your students’ learning across subjects or learning areas during course planning?

What does The New Zealand Curriculum say?


The curriculum offers all students a broad education that makes links within and across learning areas, provides for coherent transitions, and opens up pathways to further learning.

(Principles, The New Zealand Curriculum)

Vision diagram.

The New Zealand Curriculum's 'directions for learning' begins with a Vision for our young people:

The New Zealand Curriculum allows for greater choice and specialisation as students approach the end of their school years and as their ideas about future direction become clearer.

Schools recognise and provide for the diverse abilities and aspirations of their senior students in ways that enable them to appreciate and keep open a range of options for future study and work.

(Learning in Years 11–13, The New Zealand Curriculum)

Talking points

Use these questions to facilitate further discussion:

  • Is there a noticeable trend in the number of students undertaking the same subject?
  • Has your subject/learning area discussed this commonality with HOD/s of other areas?
  • Should we consider planning teaching and learning programmes across other learning areas?
  • What changes could be made to your teaching and learning programme to incorporate students’ learning across subjects/learning areas in your school?

Published on: 08 Apr 2020