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Version date: 26 September 2013
Key changes: Version 3
Subject facilitator email: [email protected]



About this guide

What is in this guide?

Who is this guide for?

What has changed?

This teaching and learning guide describes:

  • what constitutes valued knowledge in the arts learning area at levels 6, 7, and 8 of The New Zealand Curriculum
  • how the arts learning area disciplines interrelate and connect through histories, technologies, conventions, and creative practices
  • what good teaching and learning looks like in the arts
  • how learning within the arts supports students learning and knowing in a range of contexts both within and beyond school.

What is in this guide?

This guide provides a comprehensive elaboration of the arts learning area including the disciplines of dance, drama, music – sound arts, visual arts, and art history.

It sets out:

  • a framework for teaching and learning to support teachers designing innovative curriculum programmes for senior students
  • pedagogical guidance with specific examples of teaching practice contextualised for specific learning outcomes
  • skills and knowledge learned within and through the arts and how these progress through the senior secondary curriculum
  • a description of effective teaching and learning practices focused on: the diverse nature and needs of students in New Zealand
  • the world they engage in as connected global citizens.

Who is this guide for?

  • Experienced arts teachers designing and developing innovative programmes aligned to The New Zealand Curriculum and NCEA.
  • Teachers new to teaching senior secondary arts.
  • Teachers new to teaching arts in New Zealand.
  • Curriculum leaders considering the place of the arts in their senior curriculum programmes.
  • Students looking to know why they should study arts disciplines.
  • Parents/whānau wanting to know what learning in the arts is about.

What has changed?

Teaching of the arts is guided by the National Curriculum which is made up of two documents - The New Zealand Curriculum for English-medium schools and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa for Māori-medium schools.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi is central to both documents.

Learn more:

Teachers of the arts recognise and affirm the principles of the treaty, our bicultural heritage, the multicultural nature of New Zealand, and our place in the Pacific. They address the needs of every student in all circumstances.

The arts learning area of The New Zealand Curriculum affirms the identity of akonga (learners) and places them at the centre of all teaching and learning. The curriculum vision, values, principles, and key competencies are integral to the planning and delivery of arts programmes.

The arts learning area now includes art history as a discipline and specifically within visual arts. (Previously, the strands of Understanding Context and Communicating Ideas alluded to art appreciation and history of art as a context and as an aspect of visual literacy.)

Learning in visual arts engages conceptual thinking, problem solving, generating, and process-based actions. Art history explores and investigates art in relation to theoretical concepts or positions. The links between visual art and art history are now more explicit and valued in The New Zealand Curriculum.

The Ngā Toi learning area of Te Marautanga o Aotearoa celebrates and acknowledges the skills and knowledge of the past, and empowers and challenges the thinking of the now and the future.

Learn more:

The arts 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 on the  Arts home page.

Last updated September 12, 2017