Step one (what)
Culturally responsive pedagogy is a student-centered approach to teaching in which the students’ unique cultural beliefs and strengths are identified and nurtured to promote a sense of self worth. While ensuring the learner identifies with their cultural 'place' in the world, this has a two fold effect by not only raising the child's 'mana' but also raising student achievement. I resonate with the research by Gay (2001, p.106) who states that culturally responsive pedagogy is defined by “using the cultural characteristics, experiences and perspectives as conduits for effective teaching”. When an educator is able to harness what the student relates to through their own cultural identity and connect it to what is being taught the learner feels valued and the learning is more meaningful to them.
I believe quality teaching and learning for ALL hinges on relationships. Bishop (2009) discusses the importance of whakawhanaungatanga and whanaungatanga; that is, the process of establishing relationships and the quality of the relationships that are established. Hattie (2003) also concluded that it is not socio-economic differences that have the greatest impact on Maori students achievement. He suggests that "the evidence is pointing more to the relationships between teachers and Maori students as the major issue" (p.7)
I will consider how my kura's practice has been informed by indigenous knowledge and culturally responsive pedagogy in two areas: Vision, mission and core values and School-wide Activities.
Our school's vision encapsulates a 'Know me before you teach me' philosophy and our core values reflect the commitment to ensure Maori students reach their full potential. Tane Bennett (Deputy Principal) best sums this up in the video link below when he states "the culture of the child can not enter the classroom until it enters the consciousness of the teacher". This video also shares our school wide delivery of Te Reo via our Radio Station, where every learner regardless of ethnicity is taught to speak Te Reo from the day they start school, this programme has been recognised nationally.
We currently have 12 teachers, including myself who are committed to completing our level 2 certificate in Te Reo so this is going someway to addressing the confidence of teachers to ensure Te Reo is normalised across the kura.
I do feel though that while focussing on our Maori students we may be doing other ethnicities a disservice, we still need to challenge our "white definitions and structures" in terms of how we teach and acknowledge other ethnicities In past years we have had a 'cultural week' where we acknowledge Pacifica or our Indian community but I feel this is tokenism, we need to ensure we cater for these students to the same level as our Pakeha and Maori students. Perhaps it is time our radio station evolves to become multi national?
Bishop, R., et al., Te Kotahitanga: Addressing educational disparities facing Maori students in New Zealand, Teaching and Teacher Education (2009), doi:10.1016/j.tate.2009.01.009
Hattie, J. (2003). New Zealand education snapshot. Paper presented at the Knowledge Wave 2003: The leadership forum, Auckland.
CORE Education.(2017, 17 October). Dr Ann Milne, Colouring in the white spaces: Reclaiming cultural identity in whitestream schools.[video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cTvi5qxqp4&feature=em-subs_digest