Teachers and Curriculum


The principles set out in the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) “embody beliefs about what is important and desirable in school  curriculum—nationally and locally. They should underpin all school decisionmaking” (Ministry of Education, 2007). An understanding of these principles is essential for all teachers who are involved in education in the compulsory sector in New Zealand, including beginning teachers.

This paper reports on a study which investigated the developing understandings of the place and use of the principles in the NZC by student teachers over a year long Graduate Diploma (Primary) programme and as they moved into their first teaching
positions. Student teachers were able to identify examples of their own practice that reflected specific principles. In particular the principles they highlighted were ones that aligned with their personal beliefs. Other principles that lay outside their personal beliefs proved more difficult for them, but their understanding of the principles as they related to curriculum decisionmaking developed over the duration of the programme.


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