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Learning languages

Version date: 20 May 2016
Key changes: Version 4
Subject facilitator email: [email protected]

What's new - January 2017


New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) achievement standards for levels 6, 7, and 8 have been developed for use. Context elaborations are available in this guide.

What is learning languages about?

Learning languages.

Learning languages

Languages are inseparably linked to the social and cultural contexts in which they are used. Languages and cultures play a key role in developing our personal, group, national, and human identities. Every language has its own way of expressing meanings; each has intrinsic value and special significance for its users.

'Ko tōu reo, ko tōku reo,

 te tuakiri tangata.

Tīhei uriuri, tīhei nakonako'

'Your voice and my voice are expressions of identity.

May our descendants live on and our hopes be fulfilled.'

(Learning Languages Whakataukī, New Zealand Curriculum, 2007)

In learning languages, students learn to communicate in an additional language. As they do so, they begin to expand their own world and to open up a whole range of new possibilities. Learning one new language makes it easier to learn others.

'Those who know nothing of foreign languages, know nothing of their own.'

(Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, Maxims and Reflections, 1827)

'The sum of human wisdom is not contained in any one language.'

(Ezra Pound , ABC of Reading, 1934)

Learning a new language provides a means of communicating with people from other cultures. As students acquire the skills of communicative competence, they simultaneously explore and reflect on their own personal world and their own culture. By reaching out, they also reach within.

'Another language opens up a whole new window on the world. It might be small and difficult to see through at first, but it gives you a different perspective, and it might make you realise that your first window could do with a bit of polishing and even enlarging.'

(Hone Tuwhare, Die Deutsche Sprache und Ich, NZCTE, Goethe Institut, circa 1997)

Learning languages curriculum guide content

Use the links below to access the sections of this guide. To navigate through the guide's web pages, select from the section and sub-section menu in the left-hand navigation.

Teaching and learning guides are produced in HTML. They have been designed to be viewed online.

To print individual pages, select the 'Print' button at the top right of each page.

To print the complete guide, select the ‘Download this guide in PDF format’ button. If your browser default is set to automatically open PDF downloads in a PDF reader, the entire guide will open and can then be printed. If not, the entire guide will download into your download folder, where you can then open the document and print. Please note, some guides may be more than 200 pages long.

Last updated January 24, 2017