A new website is helping teachers share more Asia-Pacific learning aims to develop students with global competence, prepared to take on the regions’ vast opportunities and live and work in different cultures.

Te Whai Toi Tangata, at the University of Waikato, has developed the Teaching for the Asia and Pacific website, in collaboration with the Centres of Asia-Pacific Excellence.

Te Whai Toi Tangata, Associate Director Chris Henderson, said their research had shown many teachers didn’t see teaching Asia-Pacific content as a priority, but as our connectivity to the region was growing and New Zealand forged closer ties through trade, development and migration, educating good global citizens was becoming vital.

“For young people moving into the future they will need to know different languages, and they will need to know how to work and live successfully in different cultures and contexts,” he said.

“We want to inspire and engage New Zealand teachers to introduce global competence, to introduce languages, cultures and contexts throughout their teaching.”

He said, while New Zealand had traditionally focused on the United Kingdom, Europe and the USA the dynamic was changing. Currently 55 percent of all New Zealand trade is with countries in Asia-Pacific, while the region is home to 750 million young people between the age of 12 and 24.

“They are increasingly educated, motivated and mobile. By comparison, there are only 6 million people of the same age between New Zealand and Australia. This is not about competing with that demographic, it’s about sharing knowledge and connecting and collaborating with them.”

Mr Henderson said currently schools were not particularly strong at building students’ capabilities for the Asia-Pacific, and learning had centred on things like international days, celebrating food or dress.

“This is in part because of teachers’ own expertise in this area. We hope the design and function of the website contributes towards a new way of thinking about international education in New Zealand schools.”

The website offers tools including links to curated research designed with teachers for teachers, lesson ideas and multimedia information. It also shows ways Asia-Pacific content can be a vehicle for related learning including science, technologies and maths.

Stories from teachers working to integrate Asia-Pacific related learning is also a key feature, along with a teacher self-review tool, aligned with the OECD’s Global Competence Framework.

“This website has been designed with teachers for teachers. Teachers are the real leaders of this work and we want this website to support and celebrate that fact,” Mr Henderson said.

He said the website is a starting point and over time a range of new features will be developed.

A Teaching for the Asia Pacific Teachers’ Forum was also being planned to be held in Wellington in April next year.

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