(Activity 4) Critique and evaluate how indigenous knowledge and cultural responsiveness inform practice.
We all want to create that buzzy feeling for each kid in the class but sometimes we settle for a group buzz. How can we spread the buzz around?
In a culturally relevant pedagogy you would find that world views, values, beliefs and perspectives are at it’s heart. These are linked to everyday experiences to find out what students know and what they need to be taught and understand. It appreciates that students are individuals each with their own needs and experiences. (Teaching Tolerance, 2010)
One of the strategic aims within the charter of Waimea College is to accelerate the achievement levels of Pacifica and Maori to close the gap.
Our Principal, Scott Haines in his welcome in the school prospectus says, “We also believe that the learner should be the centre of everything that we do.” As a staff member one of our appraisal goals is to improve the outcomes for our priority learners. We choose a goal, meet with our appraiser and discuss how we went. Although the discussion is valuable, I enjoyed seeing the evaluation tool Poutama from Unitec. I was able to reflect on my goals as part of a ‘journey with a destination’ rather than as a ‘conversation at a point in time’.
I used this to look at a new initiative that I had tried with the school to put a new lens over it. I had engaged with the Whenua Iti Trust to enable some Tuatara to come to the College. Everywhere the Tuatara went faces broke into smiles, bringing joy like a pair of Kiwi Easter bunnies, albeit cold blooded and scaly. The two Tuatara that came to Waimea courtesy of Whenua Iti and Ngati Koata swept students, staff and children off their feet with the experience of a lifetime. Not just with the opportunity to see them in their cold-blooded flesh but to experience them close-up and the rare chance to hold a Taonga of Aoteroa. They sat happily as they sucked the warmth from each pair of eager hands and everyone marveled at how soft they were. It was a great chance for our Ngati Koata students, as custodians of the Tuatara, especially Shequela Kerr-Ula who did an amazing job in presenting this unique treasure to staff and students at Waimea. Everyone was more buzzed out than a buzzy bee with this epic Kiwi encounter!
This super charged encounter was more epic as it was Maori-led, values at the front, an understanding that to love nature is to have a relationship with it. This was not the sterile, “look but don’t touch!” western approach. At the center were our Maori students, those involved developed a relationship with one of their Taonga, and for students from the local iwi the power of sharing this under the guidance and wisdom of local kaumatua was a day of pride. Looking at the consultation aspect, (working with your community), I found with greater consultation and engagement with the Maori community in accessing the Tuatara, other aspects that were not as strong in my planning improved as a natural consequence. Pedagogy moved from knowledge to values and Te Reo Maori could move from Mohio to Matauranga. I could also look for ways that the exercise may provide naturally occurring evidence that could be used to help students in assessments to improve my progress in the assessment strand.
Having a framework has helped me to have more confidence of ‘what good looks like’ and the many facets that make up culturally relevant pedagogy.
Teaching Tolerance.( 2010, Jun 17).Introduction to Culturally Relevant Pedagogy.. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGTVjJuRaZ8
Poutama Model from Unitec http://www.unitec.ac.nz/ahimura/publications/Poutama%20for%20Distribution%20and%20Publication.pdf