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The New Zealand Curriculum.

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Reflections of us

Media studies level: Junior media; years 9 or 10; time frame: 4–5 weeks

About this resource

Achievement criteria

(From standard / AOs from curriculum/learning outcomes for the unit.) "Achievement criteria" is broken down using standards based assessment criteria as an introductory and formative task for junior students to become familiar with concepts and senior media achievement standards 90278, 90277 and 90765.

Resources for unit

New Zealand Film Archive website (use the search function)


Senior students find the idea of representation difficult so the earlier they can start examining the concepts the better. Junior media is a wonderful way to make an early start to introducing concepts so students are prepared for senior media.

This module explores how New Zealand and New Zealanders are shown in advertisements from the 1960s to the present. It takes students through basic ideas of advertising and target audience, close reading skills, identifying representations and production.

These ideas could also be explored as part of an English course with a visual focus — focusing on the visual and verbal messages and presenting a static image for the production task.

For ideas on how the module could be expanded into senior media courses, see the Teachers' notes below.


Students begin the module with introductory tasks on the ideas of advertising and New Zealand representations.

Students move through the module under different themes: representations of male and females, changing faces of New Zealanders, and the "natural pure" image of New Zealand.

Each theme looks at the different changing aspects of New Zealand shown in the ads and the ways the products were sold.Throughout these tasks it is good to be comparing similar products with how they are sold today.

The module then moves its focus to the production of the students’ own ads. Students plan and produce their own New Zealand ads and then reflect on the process. If filming equipment is not available then students can produce static poster ads.

Learning intentions

The learning intentions are:

  • to introduce the concept of the way New Zealand may be represented in ads
  • to explore expectations of the way New Zealand is represented in ads
  • to be able to identify messages from past and present ads and explore how they have changed over time
  • to identify film techniques, then plan and produce a film project as a group
  • to reflect and identify successful areas of the ad and areas to improve upon.

Success criteria

Success criteria are used so students know if they have achieved success. The success criteria take the form of first-person statements, I can…, which the students can check themselves against to gauge their progress. Success criteria must be aligned to the learning intentions.

The success criteria are:

  • identified in detail in the teaching/learning sequence
  • are to be used as indicators of understanding of the student with: self, peer, and teacher assessment.

Further resources for teachers

Vocablist (Media Studies/English)

Product, jingle, slogan, messages, values, target audience, logo, pack shot
See the handout:

Prior knowledge established (Media Studies/English)


It is expected that students have a prior knowledge of camera shots and angles. The module starts with a lesson exploring prior knowledge of ads and New Zealand identity.

At the beginning of each lesson learning intentions are to be indicated to the students. This can be done by writing them on the board and/or in the students’ books.


Formative/practice assessment

Within each lesson, students are checking their understanding of messages with peers and the teacher.

This module is also seen as formative learning for later years in senior media, introducing concepts such as representation, close viewing, and production.

Summative assessment

Within the module a summative production task is included.


Students are also given the opportunity to watch finished products and reflect on their work and how they worked as a group.

Student evaluation of learning experience


Students evaluate their ads and how well they worked as a group. Within their reflections they are asked to check if they transferred the skill of connecting what they see and what they hear from an earlier lesson.

Teacher evaluation for future planning

What went well?/ What needs to change?/ Where to next?

Some lessons extended into taking two lessons instead of one. If there was more time could extend to do more of a study on New Zealand society to help students understand what eras the ads represented.

Teachers' notes

This module could be adapted for senior media NCEA level 2 Achievement Standard 90278–Representation. Another aspect that could be explored is the shift from British influence in the ads of the 1960s to the American accents and concepts of the 1970s to a clearer New Zealand feel in the later ads. Also looking in more detail at the political ads from the 1960s–1990s.

It could also be used in a Level 1 course to compliment 1.1 Demonstrate understanding of how individuals interact with the media. The ads can be used in teaching not only ideas of representation and target audiences but also in helping students come to terms with the idea of variant readings (especially the KFC ad).

Teaching–learning sequence

The following provides a summary of each lesson and its learning intentions. Relevant examples accessed via the search function in the New Zealand Film Archive website, are listed where appropriate. The success criteria asks the question: How do students know they have achieved success?

Reflections of Us lessons 1–12