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Curriculum integration: What is happening in New Zealand schools?

Sue McDowall and Rosemary Hipkins
PDF icon Curriculum Integration 2018-2019.pdf1.74 MB

We know that a lot of curriculum integration is happening, and that schools believe they are being innovative and future-focused when they create these units of work. This research explored teachers’ rationales for curriculum integration; the approaches and practices used to integrate curriculum; and the learning opportunities such approaches provide for students. Of specific interest is how teachers introduced disciplinary knowledge so that students got a sense of how subjects differ from each other and on the learning opportunities integration provides for different groups of students, including those underserved by the education system.  

Our research questions are: 

  • What sorts of outcomes do teachers envisage when they integrate subjects, i.e. what are their purposes for doing so? 
  • What sorts of topics are used to integrate learning across learning areas? 
  • How is integration achieved in practice? (For example, how are different learning areas differentiated and/or juxtaposed?) 
  • What is taught about the knowledge-building (epistemic) processes of each discipline? 
  • What learning opportunities does curriculum integration afford students and do the opportunities differ for different groups of students, including those traditionally underserved by the education system? 

We used two main forms of data collection: 

  1. Questions for secondary school principals and teachers in Secondary schools in 2018: Findings from the NZCER national survey (Bonne & MacDonald, 2019) 
  2. Teacher workshops for primary and secondary school teachers. 
Year published: 
Publication type: 
Research report
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