EOTC and the Curriculum
The vision of the New Zealand curriculum states that they want young people “who will seize the opportunities offered by new knowledge and technologies to secure a sustainable social, cultural, economic and environmental future for our country” and “who will be confident, connected, actively involved, and lifelong learners”. This cannot be achieved inside the classroom alone; therefore Education Outside The Classroom plays an integral part in fulfilling this vision.
If students are to be confident in their own identities and have a positive view of who they are, the learning of this needs to take place in the areas where their personal identity is the strongest, which isn’t restricted to the classroom.
For students to be connected to the land and the environment they need to physically engage and learn in this surrounding.
Students need opportunities to be actively involved in all contexts of New Zealand, including social, cultural, economic and environmental, and participate in all of these aspects of life to prepare them for the future.
The eight major principles of the New Zealand Curriculum can be embedded within any school’s education programmes and direction, using a range of learning experiences outside the classroom. Many of the principles can even be strengthened and consolidated by education and learning outside the classroom such as the understanding of the Treaty of Waitangi, gain knowledge of te reo Maori me ona tikanga and experiencing cultural diversity and its value first hand. Learning outside the classroom also provides many opportunities for students to be a part of an inclusive curriculum that is void of sexism, racism and discrimination and develop relationships within the wider life of school and be actively engaging in communities. Any learning outside the classroom also provides opportunities for cross-curricular learning and developing coherence which leads to further learning. Issues such as sustainability, citizenship, enterprise and globalisation are important issues of the future and can only be accurately studied by experiencing these resources outside of the classroom.
Experiences and learning beyond the classroom can enable students to:
“encounter the values of diverse groups and cultures as they occur in real-world contexts; experience values being demonstrated by others in authentic ways; strengthen their understanding of what values are; understand or explain how values influence their own interactions with people and places beyond school; consider a range of types of values (cultural, moral, social, aesthetic, and economic); have a basis for learning the skills needed for inquiring into values – exploring, empathising, critically analysing, and discussing.(Ministry of Education, 2009, p. 8)
The New Zealand Curriculum identifies five key competencies: thinking; managing self; using language, symbols and texts; relating to others; and participating and contributing.
The key with all of these aspects is that the students not only need develop these competencies, but also apply and demonstrate using them.
All five of the mentioned competencies naturally fit within any learning environment outside of the classroom and can be applied in rich meaningful surroundings and taught through authentic New Zealand contexts.