“This could be a game changer for Maori achievement at senior level” was the feedback from one teacher who attended the Loop’s recent Collaborative Forum on breaking down barriers to Maori achievement in our schools.
“I’m encouraged just to ask them [Maori students] how they feel” stated another participant at the end of the session.
Hosted by Tawa College teachers, representatives of eight Loop schools gathered in September for a Collaborative Forum focused on identifying what creates barriers to Maori achievement and to share what Loop schools are doing in response.
- developing relationships with whanau
- connecting students with the values of the school
- putting the marae at the centre of the school
- appropriately diagnosing learning difficulties
- harnessing the positive impact of ‘knowing who you are’, and
- using the simple power of asking students how they feel.
Along with time to discuss issues, the journey of one Loop school with the Kia Eke Panuku programme was presented by Gregor Fountain, Principal of Paraparaumu College. (See link to presentation and resources at the bottom of this page.)
Key reflections shared by practitioners during the session included:
- “Always bring it back to practice – teaching and learning and values. It’s a shared responsibility between teacher and student.” (Aotea College)
- “By far the most powerful thing as teachers is to position ourselves as learners. We need to sit next to them, not across from them. When teacher holds all the knowledge, it can be a ‘colonising’ experience for Maori students.” (Paraparaumu College)
- “Developing the relationship with whanau feeds into the relationship with the student.” (Tawa College)
- “When we put the marae at the centre of the school, there was a turnaround — a gear change, a paradigm shift.” (Wellington High School)
The Loop organised the forum in response to requests from teachers for “more time to talk” after a very popular breakout session at this year’s LoopEd Conference. The Tawa College team of Mitch Thomas, Mark Edgecombe and Tina Mihaere Rees led both the forum and the LoopEd conference session.
Links to resources
Kia Eke Panuku: www.kep.org.nz
Presentation by Gregor Fountain: Presentation: Paraparaumu College and Kia Eke Panuku