Learning Together

Learning Together

Friday, 19 February 2016

Activity 9:​ E​valuations of cultural responsiveness in practice

Create a blog post where you first share your own views on your indigenous knowledge and cultural responsive pedagogy.

Many people would think that being Maori is an advantage when it comes to cultural responsiveness. This is partially so, from the perspective that I have been raised in the Pakeha world and have an understanding of the Pakeha education systems and processes, whilst also having an understanding of, and cultural connection to, Te Ao Maori, as a Maori. 
Nonetheless, in my current role it presents a new set of challenges. 

Our community is 68% Maori, and I am Maori. However, connecting with our Maori community presents the same challenges as for any mainstream school, no matter the size of the Maori population. 
I believe some of my challenges are strongly influenced by my own schooling experience and upbringing. When I was young, Te Reo Maori  was addressed in a tokenistic way at school, and only in the form of providing kapa haka opportunities and covering basic greetings in class from time to time. We had one Maori teacher in our school, and he managed behaviour, so therefore he seemed terrifying to me as a young child. 
Maori was presented to us as fun - kapa haka and simple greetings. Yet, the corporal punishment discipline delivered by the only Maori role model in our school was anything but fun. This was a conflicting and confusing message. There was no challenge in terms of what we could learn about our identity, our culture and our values. There was huge challenge in connecting to this scary representative of our culture and learning. As a result, I grew up a white Maori in Christchurch. I saw myself as white, I measured myself against white children and my culture was bypassed.
My response to this is to try to ensure my experiences are not repeated for my children. I want to ensure the indigenous knowledge of our children is recognised, celebrated and extended.  I want to ensure my school demonstrated culturally responsive pedagogy.

Then evaluate how you or your school addresses cultural responsiveness in practice in t​wo​ listed areas.

Our school Vision, Mission and Goal Setting are areas our school plans and implements particularly well.

Our school follows Ka Hikitia as our guideline when implementing Maori across the school. We believe (in fact we know) that which is good for Maori is good for all students. 

The Guiding Principles of Ka Hikitia (2013), are similar to the statements made by Professor Russell Bishop (2009), in his video to support schools in developing a culturally responsive pedagogy.

1. The Treaty of Waitangi - Ensuring all students enjoy and 
    achieve success. 
2. Maori Potential Approach - Asserts that every student has 
    the potential to make a valuable contribution their 
    community and to New Zealand as a whole.
    Students who are expected to achieve and who have high 
    expectations of themselves are more likely to succeed. We 
    all must share these high expectations for Māori students 
    to achieve.

3. Ako – a two-way teaching and learning process - where 
    the educator and the student learn from each other in an 
    interactive way. Ako is grounded in the principle of 

4. Identity, language and culture count. Students do better in education when what they learn,          and how they learn, builds on what is familiar to them, and reflects and positively reinforces          where they come from, what they value, and what they already know.  

5. Productive partnerships - promoting a team effort - collaboration. It requires everyone who 
    plays a role in education to take action and work together. 

If schools and teachers fail to acknowledge and implement culturally responsive pedagogy, then as Professor Bishop (2012) indicated, the education deficit for Maori as students will correlate to the incarceration rate as adults.

Communication methods is one area our school could improve. 
We invite our Maori community to participate and contribute to school events at least twice a term. We email, Facebook, Twitter and publish information on our website to inform our community. Unfortunately these efforts appear to make little difference to our Maori community, particularly with encouraging their connection to our school. 
We have an open door policy and chat daily to parents when they drop their children off. We have three out of five Maori representatives on our school board, and two out of four Maori staff. Our school hosts evening Te Reo classes in terms 2 and 3. 
We increased our tikanga practice and our Te Reo use. Students are expected to enter our wharenui with shoes off. We start each day with karakia, waiata and student pepeha. We use Te Reo naturally in the classroom and have renamed each of our classrooms with Maori names. 
We have held hui at school and invited our Maori parents to discuss how they would like Maori to look, feel and sound at our school. We have also surveyed parents with the help of the local Maori ropu. However we receive very little in the way of replies, and little in the way of positive feedback. 
We have shared Ka Hikitia with our Board with the hope they will share it with their connections. We have have held Treaty workshops - focused on our community through the eyes of Ngati Whatua - for our Board and staff annually. These workshops include visit to local Maori landmarks and places with cultural and historical significance. 
Staff have attend Maori events in the community and tangi in the community. I have visited homes of Maori in the community for positive reasons and to seek support for children experiencing challenges with learning and/or behaviour.
I believe we have made a huge, concerted and consistent effort to connect with or Maori community. As the old adage says, "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink."

I feel saddened and frustrated that in spite of all our concerted efforts, the response from our community is lacking in passion, commitment, support or encouragement.
I have reflected on this at length, and one major issue I have reflected on, is that our school is built in the heart of five contributing Marae. 
Each Marae presents as though they own our school, they hold the knowledge and no-one is worthy to meet their standards. Any initiative is seen as suited to, driven by, or supportive of the "other" Marae, and therefore not supported.
A natural response in this situation would be to go to a community kaumatua and seek their support and advice. The difficulty in this situation is with five marae there is no one community leader and there are issues between the leadership of all five marae. What works for one or pleases one but will often displease the others.

As a Post Script: 
An external community committee was established to try to bring these five Marae together. As of 2016, this committee has been disestablished due to a complete lack of progress towards their goal. 


Edtalks.(2012, September 23). A culturally responsive pedagogy of relations. [video file].Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/49992994
Edtalks.(2012, May 30). Mike Hogan: Culturally responsive practice in a mainstream school. [video file].Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/43097812
NZ Ministry of Education (2013). Ka Hikitia - Accelerating Success 2013-2017. The Maori Education Strategy. Learning Media. NZ

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