Saturday, 21 November 2015

Activity 9 - Evaluations of the cultural responsiveness in practice

One of my passions and areas of interest is Te Aō Māori, so being culturally responsive in my practice is extremely important to me.   I have been the Cultural Co-ordinator at my school for the last 2 years and part of the Cultural Committee for the last 5 years.  To me it is crucial that all New Zealand students are exposed to have and have explicit teaching and learning in Te Aō Māori and Te Reo Māori no matter what their background.    


At Elm park School (EPS) approximately 15% of the students are Māori and 20% are Pasifika and there are clear expectations on implementing Te Reo Māori and Tikanga Māori in our school and classroom programmes.  We have a document called the Elm Park School Te Aō Māori Overview which outlines the aims and expectations in Te Aō Māori by the end of 2016 based on the curriculum document.  To enable teachers to meet these expectations, teachers have been supported with various professional development opportunities over the years including Te Reo Māori sessions held in staff meetings, a number of teachers attended Wānanga ō Aotearoa courses, and support from staff in the school who are proficient in Te Reo Māori.  I also established a site called Te Aō Māori (https://sites.google.com/a/elmpark.school.nz/matariki/home/te-wiki-o-te-reo-maori) to help support teachers in teaching and incorporating Te Reo Māori in their classrooms.   This site included numerous resources, lesson plans, ideas and information for teachers and students to refer to and use.  I have also shared this site with other schools and teachers in our area as many schools don’t have a clear Te Aō Māori policy or expectations in their schools.   


At EPS the use of Te Reo Māori and tikanga is fast becoming the norm and continues to strengthen as teachers become more confident in using Te Reo.  Many classes now start and end their day with a karakia (we have 2 versions - non-denominational and Christian based - taking into consideration that our students come from many different religions and backgrounds).  We always perform a Powhiri for visitors and new staff to our school, including Beginning Teachers.  We celebrate Matariki, Te Wiki ō Te Reo Māori, the Treaty of Waitangi with school wide activities and events including our whanau and community.  


Establishing these expectations at EPS has seen Te Reo Māori strengthen over the years and it is becoming embedded in our everyday teaching and learning.  It has moved from being tokenistic to becoming meaningful and relevant for all our students.  As I get new classes each year it is exciting to see how much the students know and be able to build on that rather than starting from the beginning.


References



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