Teaching New Zealand’s History at Otago Girls’

Ms F. Speight, Social Sciences —

This week, as we all took a break midweek to celebrate Waitangi day many parents and students may have had a chance to catch up with the news that a petition has been launched calling for parliament to pass a law requiring the teaching of our own past in our schools.

It may have come as a surprise to many of you that learning about New Zealand’s history is not taught in all schools which begs the question, is it at Otago Girls’? The answer is an unequivocal yes, it absolutely is. In Year 9, students in Social Studies learn about aspects of our history, particularly in relation to migration and colonisation in their first unit “Who are we?” In Year 10, all students delve further into New Zealand’s history in our “First Peoples” topic. This unit examines the contact period pre 1840 through to the present day looking at factors leading to the signing of the treaty and consequences of this in the short and long term particularly as it relates to race relations. Important events and their implications such as the Land Wars, invasion of Parihaka right through to the establishment of the Waitangi Tribunal are covered. 

 In Term 2 all students in Year 10 visit Puketeraki marae at Karitane where they learn about culture, values and customs, language and history, sustainability and economics from the perspective of Kai Tahu. Needless to say, the teaching of New Zealand’s history is a priority within the Otago Girls’ Social Sciences Department. If you believe that learning about New Zealand’s history should be prioritized within all schools in New Zealand then you are encouraged to sign the petition on the New Zealand Government website https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/petitions/document/PET_83795/petition-of-graeme-ball-on-behalf-of-the-new-zealand-history

If you are curious to know what other topics your daughter will learn about this year in Social Studies all girls will have received either a paper copy, or a copy on their google classroom of the year’s course outline which details this. Similarly, if you would like further information about what topics are taught at senior level in History have a look on the school’s careers website which briefly outlines these.

Innovation time in Year 10 Social Studies

And in other news for Social Studies, Innovation Time (i-time) on a Wednesday, will this term, see the Social Sciences department take the lead in trialling new approaches with the Year 10 classes. Period 2 on a Wednesday will run for 75 minutes allowing greater time for teachers to trial different approaches to their teaching and learning for their students. Team teaching, power lessons, as well as greater opportunities to learn outside the classroom such as at Toitu and the Art Gallery, will be a focus of i-time this term. This is an exciting opportunity which we hope your daughters will embrace.