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Wellbeing in the New Zealand Curriculum

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This study examines the usage and contexts of wellbeing in New Zealand’s curriculum, a formal statement of education policy enacted by a democratically elected government. The analysis is guided by a current model of student wellbeing rooted in seven, interdependent domains: Having, Being, Relating, Thinking, Feeling, Functioning, and Striving. Identification of explicit and implicit references to wellbeing in the NZC provides a rare opportunity to locate areas of alignment between governmental indicators and these domains. The scope of analysis is deliberately broad, thus providing a transferrable model for curriculum analysis from the perspective of student wellbeing. This study found that words and phrases cluster around constructs associated with the Relating domain, and that the Feeling domain was under-represented by the curricular language. This suggests that a New Zealand educational view of wellbeing may differ from how it is conceptualized in the literature. Qualitative content analysis of a national curriculum invites further study into how wellbeing is understood and experienced by students and teachers, and how their views align with the intended curriculum. This exercise can be adapted by educators practicing in different schooling contexts, resulting in site-appropriate indicators relevant to their own guiding principles and educational aims.
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Keywords: curriculum research; secondary education; teaching; wellbeing

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand

Publication date: 2012-02-01

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