Incorporating Asian
cultures into school curriculum

Business studies students at Auckland’s Glendowie College set up stalls and made Asian cuisine for their school mates to learn about the peoples, places and cultures of Asia as part of the school’s International Market Day, held last month.
Posters from Glendowie College international day

The market day provided opportunities for the students to learn about various aspects of the country they chose

In teams, the students came up with their business venture, designed marketing for their concepts and then prepared and sold their wares: cooked samosa, naan bread, dumplings, bubble tea and more.

The market, which was held to coincide with international languages week, was part of the school’s Year 11 business studies curriculum.

As well as selling authentic Asian food, the students incorporated aspects from their chosen country into their stalls, such as wearing traditional dress, using appropriate Asian greetings and providing facts and cultural information.

The Foundation provided funding through the Experience Asia Fund that went towards creating country posters providing cultural information such as greetings, business etiquette, traditional dress, landmarks and general do’s and don’ts.

Year 11 business studies teacher Pritika Harduar says the market day is an inquiry-based project where students investigate how to use their entrepreneurial skills to plan, carry out and review a business venture.

Mrs Harduar chose to focus on Asia for the market day because of Asia’s growing influence on New Zealand and the relative lack of awareness of Asia and Asian cultures among students.

“Given that the customs and traditions in Asian cultures differ vastly from that of New Zealand culture, it is crucial that we equip our students with the knowledge and experience so they become more culturally responsive in these cultures,” she says.

“The journey from Cultural awareness to cultural responsiveness requires time and multiple opportunities to gain experience.”

Girl standing in front of stall at international market day

Pritika Harduar: “The journey from Cultural awareness to cultural responsiveness requires time and multiple opportunities to gain experience.”

In 2013, Mrs Harduar travelled to Shanghai with the Foundation as part of that year’s Shanghai Business Studies Forum. She is one of three Glendowie College teachers to attend the Shanghai forum.

In Shanghai, the teachers were briefed by New Zealand Consulate General and trade officials, and companies such as Zespri, ANZ and Disney Corporation. They also visited factories and the Shanghai Far East School and met young New Zealand expats working in the city.

Mrs Harduar says going on the trip exposed her to the importance of cultural responsiveness and gave her the confidence to take students to Shanghai herself.

“These experiences… validated the importance of cultural responsiveness and the immense opportunities available for individuals who are culturally responsive. 

“This led to more meaningful and authentic discussion in the Year 13 business course and has allowed me to trial out different ways of bringing cultural awareness at different year levels.”

The Foundation’s education adviser, Yasheeka Bertrum, says the idea behind the taking teachers to Asia is to give them first-hand in-country experience and provide them with the tools and confidence to develop programmes once they return.

“It’s great to see how Patrika has taken what she learned on the business forum and run with it – not only incorporating Asia more in her teaching, but actually taking students to China.”

The Shanghai Business Forum is part of the Foundation’s education programme, which supports teachers to bring Asia into the classroom.