Posted in Applied Practice in Context, Mindlab, Uncategorized

Culturally Responsive Pedagogy

Indigenous knowledge and cultural responsiveness

I have long been a firm believer that teaching, at its core, rests on building positive relationships with our students. Bishop said that culturally responsive pedagogy can be equated to “Caring and Learning Relationships.” He also defined the culturally responsive teacher as being agentic. One who builds relationships with his or her students based on respect. Respect for a culture which potentially is different from your own. What really resonated with me was the idea of “relationship centred education.” It’s really quite simple. Build positive relationships, where you encourage Māori students to perform at high levels, as Māori.

An agentic teacher would typically have a growth mind set and reject, and challenge, deficit definitions. This system would allow all students, and in particular Māori students, to strive for success. But it must be remembered that it is authentic caring that is required.

It was also Bishop who said that education was key to bringing improvements in Māori engagement. This means that these students need to feel successful in their education. One crucial way is to make them a dominant player in their learning context. Draw on what they know, the filters through which they view the world, in order for them to make sense of the world offered to them in the classroom. With increased engagement comes increased attendance and improved achievement.

So, what does this mean for us? It means showing respect for students’ abilities while valuing their identity. It means contextualising instruction in familiar ways by using Māori language and opportunities in class. One study showed that relationships improved by the simple act of teachers attending community events and sporting activities. What is needed is targeted professional development to enable teachers to respond to the complex diversity of their students.

Our vision, mission, and core values

At our school, our vision is to graduate students who are responsible, independent, confident, proud, well-balanced and motivated. What links these adjectives is aroha, in the form of Manaaki Orewa. This underpins our goals, planning and decision making. Our mission is to provide a supportive and challenging centre of learning, the heart of Ako Orewa. And our on-going goals remain the success for Māori and Pasifika students, and those with special education needs. The vehicle for this is the links we are forging with both our cluster schools as well as our Māori community. To open communication and to facilitate face-to-face contact, we hold a hui and fono early in term 1. Contact with whanau is a vital key that is sometimes lacking for students in a secondary school. Parents are telephonically invited as email invitations were largely unsuccessful in previous years. I would say we are in the Mauri Oho state of being proactive and are making progress in both our contact and communication with whanau.

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School-wide activities

Where we could do with some consistency is school-wide activities. At the middle school, there is the expectation that the day will start, as it does for our staff briefing, with a karakiha. This is also said at assembly. Middle school students all know their mihimihi and its meaning. Teachers and students have a chance to formally introduce themselves at assembly and in class. Te Reo Māori is integrated into lessons, both visually and verbally. This is optional on the college side. Some teachers feel more confident than others at including Te Reo Māori into their everyday lessons. As with anything, the more we use language, symbols and traditions, the more comfortable we become with them. I think we have emerged from the inactive Mauri Moe stage, but not quite reached the proactive potential of  Mauri Oho.

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REFERENCES:

Edtalks.(2012, September 23). A culturally responsive pedagogy of relations. .Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/49992994

Potahu, T. W. (2011). Mauri – Rethinking Human Wellbeing. MAI Review, 3, 1-12. Retrieved from http://www.review.mai.ac.nz/index.php/MR/article/v

Savage,C, Hindleb, R., Meyerc,L., Hyndsa,A., Penetitob, W. & Sleeterd, C.(2011) Culturally responsive pedagogies in the classroom: indigenous student experiences across the curriculum .Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 39(3), 183–198

Teaching Tolerance.( 2010, Jun 17).Introduction to Culturally Relevant Pedagogy.. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGTVjJuRaZ8

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Culturally Responsive Pedagogy

  1. This has got me thinking about using more Te reo Maori in the classroom. An easy way would be to start the morning with a Karakia in form class. I also feel that we as teachers could attend the Fono and Hui to show our support.

    1. Good point! And you’re right, it’s up to us to lead the way by introducing Te reo into our classes, rather than waiting to be directed. And attendance to the hui would go a long way with regard to manaaki and mana.

  2. This is a thought-provoking post Linda. I believe that building respectful, inclusive relationships with one’s students is a key prerequisite to success. Teachers need to show their understanding of cultural specifics in a range of ways in order to foster the confidence students need to be successful as Maori or Pacifica. The pathway to student agency will allow such students to take ownership of their learning in a far more tangible way. I agree with Annie, that it would be a good idea to attend a hui and a fono as a starting point with including the whanau.

  3. I love how all middle school learners know their mihimihi! There are a couple of teachers who have introduced this idea with their tutor group in our department but it would be awesome if we all did it.

  4. This post highlights how that developing growth-mindset in others requires that one must have that mindset themselves. Structures in schools like streaming that imply one is of a certain type/tallent and succeed in separating people rather than benefiting from differences do not develop a society able to cope with cultural differences. As you say Linda, without a significant effort, a school struggles to develop a truely inclusive environment, especially when challenging generations of fixed-mindset educators. Great post.

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