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The New Zealand Curriculum.

This site has been developed to support The New Zealand Curriculum

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Concepts and learning objectives

The strands

The three main strands in The New Zealand Curriculum for learning a language other than English are:

1. Communication

Communication is the core strand of learning languages, and all achievement objectives relate to this strand. In this strand, students learn to use the Latin language to establish meaning, interacting with texts to access and respond to the world in which the Romans lived. The emphasis is not on students communicating in the target language, and for that reason, reading is the most practised skill. The Communication strand for Latin contains three modes: the interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational, defined as follows:

  • Interpretive mode – this involves communication using the receptive skills (reading, viewing, and listening). The interpretive mode focuses on the appropriate linguistic and cultural interpretation of meanings that can occur in written, visual, or spoken forms, for example, printed or electronic texts, audio- or video-materials, digital media, and speeches. Interpretation implies the ability to make inferences, and therefore requires knowledge of culture for appropriate interpretation of written, spoken, and visual texts.
  • Interpersonal mode – this involves communication in English about Latin language and culture. Students use receptive and productive skills (reading, listening, presenting) and focus on unpacking meaning. They consider their personal response and/or observe one another to check the accuracy and validity of their understanding, making adjustments and clarifications accordingly. The interpersonal mode is most obvious in discussion, but can be realised in other ways, for example, reflective and written responses. Because there are no native speakers of Latin, interpersonal communication may be one-way.
  • Presentational mode – this involves communication using productive skills (speaking, writing, presenting/performing). The presentational mode refers to the creation of texts, in English or Latin, to be interpreted by readers, viewers, or listeners. Students may produce written, visual, or oral texts using different media.

2. Language Knowledge

Key focuses for teachers in this strand are:

  • developing students’ capacity to learn languages
  • becoming aware of, and progressively building on, the language and language-learning skills that students already have
  • developing students’ knowledge and awareness of the target language
  • broadening students’ general language abilities and bringing their own language into sharper focus, for example, as they learn more about their first language by becoming aware of how it resembles and differs from the target language
  • developing in students the skills, attitudes, and understandings that will help them to learn other languages
  • helping students develop as positive, active, and willing learners of language and culture
  • helping students discover and develop language skills and language-learning skills that are useful beyond the classroom
  • helping students become confident to experiment and take risks as part of the language-learning process.

3. Cultural Knowledge

Key focuses for teachers in this strand are:

  • developing in students an understanding of the ways in which other people think and behave
  • enriching students intellectually, socially, and culturally as they learn about the society, values, and belief systems of the Romans
  • acknowledging self and others in terms of identity, self knowledge, attitudes, and skills – languages and cultures play a key role in developing our personal, group, national, and human identities
  • encouraging and developing an exploratory and reflective approach to culture and culture-in-languages
  • fostering students’ ability to make explicit comparisons and connections between languages and cultures
  • enabling students to learn to understand and appreciate the ongoing influence of Roman literature and culture.

Learning to learn

Key focuses for teachers are:

  • encouraging curiosity and openness
  • encouraging reflective, exploratory learning
  • acknowledging students as diverse learners
  • helping students to understand what they are trying to achieve in language learning
  • noticing and making connections
  • developing strategies for learning
  • helping students monitor their own progress towards their language-learning goals.


Levels 1 and 2, 3 and 4, and 5 and 6 have been banded together in the Latin guidelines to allow teachers greater flexibility in creating an integrated programme. Individual students may operate at different levels and progress at different rates, depending on their previous experience in learning Latin and other languages. Level 7 and level 8 are treated separately.

As students progress through levels 1–8, they will become familiar with a broadening range of vocabulary, increasingly complex language structures, and increasingly challenging contexts for language use. The range and complexity of the achievement objectives increase from level to level.

The levels described in the Latin guidelines do not coincide with traditional year levels or years of schooling. The age at which students begin learning a language will help determine the level(s) a class and/or individuals might work through over the course of one year. To view any of the levels, click on the selected option below:

Proficiency descriptors

Content is specified in terms of a proficiency descriptor for each progressive pair of levels for Latin up to level 6, and separately for level 7 and level 8. A proficiency descriptor explains the level of competency that students are expected to achieve. A summary table of the proficiency descriptors is included in the section on Planning Latin Programmes in Schools.

Achievement objectives

The Latin guidelines set out a range of achievement objectives for the banded and separate levels. These represent core expectations for the level(s). However, they are not intended to be associated solely with the indicated level(s) and should be revisited at later levels. The achievement objectives need not be introduced in the order in which they are listed, nor need they be introduced separately. There may, for example, be advantages in combining aspects of more than one achievement objective from a particular level or levels in a single lesson.

Integrating key competencies and values

Key competencies

  • Thinking is an essential process of learning Latin. Students make comparisons and reflect on connections between the Roman world and their own society. Students develop their thinking further as they explore, make sense of, organise, and create material about Roman literature and way of life. In addition, they learn to recognise and decode the complex inflections of Latin to establish the meaning of text(s).
  • Using language, symbols, and texts is fundamental to learning any language, including Latin. Languages and symbols are systems that represent and communicate information, experiences, and ideas. The learning of Latin as a systematic language enhances students’ command of English. By learning another language, students see their world from a different perspective and appreciate how culture(s) have been shaped.
  • Relating to others is necessary for effective communication in English about the Latin language and Roman culture/heritage. Students are given opportunities to interact with one another, express a range of information, ideas, and viewpoints, and develop social and cultural awareness.
  • Participating and contributing is integral to the learning of Latin. Activities based on language and culture enable students to share their knowledge and opinions and to contribute effectively in groups. Electronic learning activities provide additional opportunities for students to become involved in the worldwide Latin e-community.
  • Managing self is about enabling students to monitor their own progress and take responsibility for their own Latin learning. Perseverance, establishing good learning patterns, and goal-setting lead to personal satisfaction and a sense of pride.


Students of Latin are encouraged to value:

  • excellence by developing a high level of accuracy and precision and by persevering with the challenges of a highly inflected language
  • innovation, enquiry, and curiosity by thinking creatively, critically, and reflectively about the Latin language and culture
  • diversity by comparing the Roman world and other cultures, and Latin and other languages
  • respect for themselves, for others, and for human rights by comparing the ideas and values of Roman society with those of other cultures
  • equity by comparing and contrasting Roman social structures and institutions with modern equivalents
  • community and participation by using shared learning strategies for language acquisition and cultural understanding
  • care for the environment by raising awareness of the impact of earlier cultures on urban development and natural resources
  • integrity by examining and reflecting upon Roman religious beliefs, social mores, and philosophical ideas in their historical context.

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