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Evaluations of the Cultural Responsiveness in Practice

In our learning community, having Indigenous Knowledge and creating Culturally Responsive Practice is top priority in all areas of learning. 

Our school is a Decile 1 School and the make up of our cultural diversity determines how and why we do what we need to do to enable high expectations for our students. Our Pasifika students make up 66% of our school population with a variation of students being from ESL (English as a Second Language) backgrounds to NZ born backgrounds. However, our Māori students make up 22% of our school population with an increase in enrolment recently. There are 1% of these students who are also ESL but are richer in their language than they understand. They have come from country schools where they are immersed in Total Immersion Māori environments. 

Māori 
NZ European/Pākehā 
Samoan 
Tongan 
Cook Island Māori 
South East Asian
Niue 
Middle Eastern
Indian 
other Pacific 
other

22%
1%
30%
16%
13%
6%
4%
3%
2%
2%
1%

How do we empower our learners and provide Culturally Responsiveness in Practice?

We acknowledge firstly that Māori are tangata whēnua (Indigenous) and we respectfully cater for Māori as Māori. After all, it was this strategy that developed the pathways we have used to uplift learning for our other students. Our Māori whanau are primarily third to fourth generation Māori whose families have migrated from rural areas to find work and homes in Auckland. We also have whanau who are from the local Marae community which fills our school with the knowledge and richness of local stories using song, dance and stories told and shared with all of our students. 

There is not much which I have not already touched on in other posts but the avid use of Documents within our Strategic Plan, are living documents within our student learning. Ka Hikitia, Te Tataiako, Kiwi Leadership for Principals, Leading from the Middle, Curriculum Guidelines for Teaching and Learning Te Reo Māori in English-medium schools: Years 1-13, Pasifika Education Plan 2013 to 2017, Me Korero - Parents and Whanau Supporting Māori Education, Me Korero  - let's talk, Career Guidelines, NZ Curriculum and various research papers determine what we plan for our students. 

With listening to Russell Bishop's EdTalk (2009), our recent ERO report (2015) sums up many of the points he speaks about. The fact that he speaks about Agentic teachers being the key to teaching Māori students reinforces what we in our learning community already know and achieve.

He goes on to say that the wrap around service which is placed around the agentic teacher as well to provide support and wellbeing with time, resourcing and professional development. Provisions also need to be put around the infrastructure of the school's ability to cater for this as well as having an education system which helps to empower this.

Agentic teachers slam deficit theorising within schools and are passionate about who they teach therefore:

  • Manaakitanga (care for students) - ERO (2015) states: "the culturally diverse staff and board of trustees value and reflect the school’s inclusive practices." "The affirming school climate promotes a sense of student wellbeing and belonging. The school’s guiding values of respect and responsibility are very evident amongst students and teachers. These values underpin all operations and systems in the school. High expectations of, and for students and their learning, permeate interactions and relationships." 
  • Matauranga (Learning) "The school charter reflects the school’s commitment to a future-focused philosophy about teaching and learning." - ERO (2015)

Strengths of the school’s curriculum include the:

  • strong focus on literacy and numeracy, and the value placed on students’ first language
  • high levels of responsiveness to students’ cultures and interests
  • provision of authentic learning opportunities that make good use of the current construction and building challenges outside the school
  • ways that teachers consciously reflect on their professional practice to improve outcomes for students. - ERO (2015)

Future-focused curriculum strengths include the:

  • ways teachers build students’ understanding of, and leadership and engagement in environmental, local and global connections and issues
  • ways that digital technologies and learning environments are well used to engage and motivate students in learning. - ERO (2015)

The school promotes educational success for Māori, as Māori, very effectively. Teachers demonstrate a strong commitment to improved outcomes for Māori students. Strong leadership in this area, coupled with very strong links to local iwi and the marae, and deliberate partnerships with parents and families/whānau form a strong foundation for the success of Māori students in this school. The school plans to develop more robust assessments in te reo Māori and to ensure te ao Māori is integrated into all curriculum areas. - ERO (2015)

We are represented across the staff and the Board of Trustees as being very diverse but we are lucky enough to have Māori not only in Leadership roles but also in roles where collaboration leads to engagement from our whole learning community. 

These processes are not restricted to only Māori but we use this success to inspire the learning and analysing data to target learning which is succinct to individual, groups and classes. We have successful home school partnerships, 3 way conferences and parental assistance where needed - this is always about the learning and how we can share the learning partnership with our wider community. Its about giving guidance to families so they may ask great questions about their children's learning and so they may be empowered and engaged with learning. This is how we empower learners within our community. 

Bishop, R. (2009). Culturally Responsive Pedagogy Relations. Retrieved from http://www.edtalks.org/video/culturally-responsive-pedagogy-relations

Education Review Office Report. (2015). Mangere Central School. Retrieved from: http://ero.govt.nz/index.php/Early-Childhood-School-Reports/School-...

Hogan, M. (2012) Culturally Responsive Practice in a Mainstream School. Retrieved from http://www.edtalks.org/video/mike-hogan-culturally-responsive-pract...

Macfarlane, A., Glynn, T., Cavanagh, T., & Bateman, S. (2007). Creating culturally safe schools for Māori students. The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education36, 65–76. Retrieved from: http://www.educationalleaders.govt.nz/Leading-change/Manaakitanga-L...

Core Education. Culturally Responsive Practice. Retrieved from http://vimeo.com/53563911

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