Feedback from schools on the draft document French in the New Zealand curriculum: A research report

Publication Details

In February 2001, draft national curriculum guidelines for French were released for discussion and comment. To provide information on how well the draft guidelines assist and support teachers in the planning and delivery of effective French language programmes, a survey of schools which offered French in 2000 was undertaken. The main aim of the research was to obtain feedback from schools on the draft guidelines "French in the New Zealand Curriculum" to contribute to the writing of the final document. This report outlines the key findings of this research.

Author(s): Jacquie Kerslake amd Maree Telford, Research, Ministry of Education.

Date Published: November 2001

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Summary

All students benefit from learning another language from the earliest practicable age. Such learning broadens students' general language abilities and brings their own language into sharper focus. It enriches them intellectually, socially, and culturally, offers an understanding of the ways in which other people think and behave, and furthers international relations and trade. Students will be able to choose from a range of Pacific, Asian, and European languages, all of which are important to New Zealand's regional and international interests. The New Zealand Curriculum Framework (1993), page 10.


Language and Languages is one of the seven essential learning areas of The New Zealand Curriculum Framework. French is included in this essential learning area.

New Zealand benefits by having young New Zealanders learn European languages. People within the country who are fluent in these languages are necessary in order for New Zealand to participate successfully in cultural exchanges, diplomacy, education, trade, and tourism. Learning a foreign language such as French can also make a valuable contribution to the education of young New Zealanders. The draft guidelines, French in the New Zealand Curriculum, reinforce the commitment to quality French-language teaching and learning in New Zealand schools.

The draft guidelines for French have been designed to assist and support teachers in the planning and delivery of effective French-language programmes. They outline a clear progression of achievement objectives, and include suggested topics, structures, vocabulary, and learning and assessment activities appropriate to each of eight levels. They are intended to replace the existing French syllabus, first published in 1987.

In 1999, the Ministry of Education started work on developing guidelines for both French in the New Zealand Curriculum and German in the New Zealand Curriculum. The development of the guidelines involved consultation with many interested parties, including language educators in schools and tertiary institutions, both in New Zealand and overseas. In February 2001, draft national curriculum guidelines for French and German were released for discussion and comment. Copies of French in the New Zealand Curriculum were sent to all schools known to have been offering French-language programmes the previous year. Similarly, copies of German in the New Zealand Curriculum were sent to all schools that had offered German-language programmes in 2000. Copies of each document were also distributed to other interested parties and key organisations.

To assist in finding out how well the draft guidelines assist and support teachers in the planning and delivery of effective French-language and German-language programmes, people had the opportunity to provide feedback on the draft curricula in a number of ways. In particular, schools could provide feedback by means of the response forms included in each of the draft curriculum guidelines documents.

Open invitations to provide feedback are likely to attract responses only from those who have particularly strong positive or negative views about the issue at hand. For this reason, to supplement the above feedback, the Ministry's Curriculum Division engaged the Research Division to survey schools that had had French and/or German programmes in 2000. Two separate surveys took place in Term 3, 2001. This report summarises the findings only from the survey of schools that taught French.

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