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Opportunities to demonstrate understanding

Plan programmes that give students opportunities to demonstrate their understanding using a range of geographic experiences, concepts, skills, and approaches.

Involve students in programme planning and ensure they engage with a variety of contexts, both familiar and unfamiliar.

The stem that leads into the indicators for levels 6 , 7 and 8 conveys much of what is important in geography. It includes terms that have specific meaning.


The intention is that a variety of experiences, concepts, skills and approaches will be used to support student learning.


This term refers to both the prior experiences that students bring to their learning and the new experiences they will be involved in as they learn in geography. Fieldwork provides opportunities to engage students in worthwhile learning experiences.


Key concepts are outlined in this guide. Other supporting concepts are inherent in the achievement objectives, for example, place and scale. Teachers should also feel confident to incorporate other relevant geographic concepts that support student learning.


There are certain skills, some generic and some specific to geography, which enable students to gain and use information and to understand geographic concepts. Acquiring these skills supports students in developing aspects of all of the Key Competencies. Relevant skills include thinking skills, such as organising information and making judgments; practical skills, such as mapping and fieldwork skills; social skills, such as those needed for discussion and teamwork; and valuing skills, such as those needed to develop an awareness of their own and others’ value positions. Digital skills are increasingly being used in geography programmes and careers.


A variety of approaches in geography will support students’ learning and help them to develop critical thinking. Effective approaches include engaging in research, carrying out fieldwork, and using digital tools for e-learning. Aspects of the social inquiry process, The New Zealand Curriculum (2007, p. 30), are also appropriate for geography students.


A balanced course will draw on a number of different contexts to support the development of conceptual understanding. These will include local, national, and global contexts.

Learn more about skills and concepts.

Last updated August 24, 2012