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The Centres for Asia-Pacific Excellence global citizenship education framework is aligned with the curriculum refresh in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The framework is founded on young people having a sound understanding of their identity and having the ability to identify, make and sustain connections and understand their responsibilities as part of a global community. Similar to the refreshed New Zealand Curriculum framework, the global citizenship education framework also makes reference to understand and know whilst expanding the do to act and change. 

When we look at Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories, we can see alignment with these overarching ways of thinking and being. In the diagram below, the global citizenship education framework is used as a lens to look at  Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories. There is often a risk that, when introducing new initiatives into school curricula, they are seen as an extra and something new. However, if a review process takes place first, often areas that have similar concepts for learning outcomes can be identified. 

Getting started with understand-know-do and global citizenship

Looking at what is already happening in a school is a good first step in understanding how these overarching frameworks draw together the learning that is taking place and helps to make connections across and between learning areas.

In global citizenship education, as in the curriculum refresh ‘understand, know and do’, it is useful to look at the skills and dispositions our students will need to cultivate in order to enact the goals of global citizenship education and the different learning areas. Many teachers will be familiar with Bloom’s taxonomy’s use of verbs to give more explicit ideas of what ‘to do’ might look like. The question is, what does a student need to learn in order to take action and effect change? 

The diagram below gives a few examples of the types of skills that students need to develop. These skills are not limited to one learning area, and they provide teachers with an opportunity to provide authentic ways of practising them in collaboration with other teachers. 

The use of authentic contexts for applying these skills is key to ensuring that students are able to apply learning in times of need. 

Choosing authentic contexts for learning

Whilst global citizenship education is the overarching idea, starting with local contexts provides students the opportunity to hone these skills while making a difference to their local community. For example, looking at Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories, we can find opportunities in our local community to explore the following:

  • What do we understand about colonisation and its impact on our local community?

  • What do we know about the stakeholders involved in this process and their perspectives?

  • What are some of the ongoing issues? 

  • Where do I fit in and what can I do to make a difference? 

The Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories curriculum shows us how we can start local and go global in understanding the challenges facing the Indigenous community of Aotearoa New Zealand. Through being informed and understanding our own nation’s histories, we can make connections and empathise with other Indigenous communities globally as we learn about the challenges they face.

In summary, the overarching concepts of understand, know and do across all areas of the refreshed curriculum offer the opportunity for students to consider who they are and where they fit in the world. They also provide a foundation of knowledge and skills that students can draw on in different situations in order to be contributing members of society.



What connections to local community issues could you make whilst exploring Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories with students?

How might you support students to make connections with local and global issues involving Indigenous peoples?

Frame some questions/ideas /how the resource might be interpreted/used with students.

Useful links

Find out what’s changing in the curriculum refresh.

In our 2022 webinar, Aotearoa NZ Histories and GCED, Mary Jamieson and Pip Newick explore the parallels between the Aotearoa New Zealand histories curriculum and global citizenship education.

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