A while ago I participated in a thought provoking webinar entitled Te Kotahitanga PD including Culturally Responsive Pedagogy of Relations, and facilitated by Mere Berryman. It was Mere's first time facilitating in a Webinar environment, and she faced all the technical hiccups with aplomb...and gave the participants a lot to think about.
Culturally responsive pedagogy was identified by Glyn (1985) where he identified four specific types of responsive pedagogical strategies, including:
The next points to be mentioned were around culturally pedagogy of relations including:
The most important things for designing programmes to help Maori - the programme would have aspects of all of these factors. One of the key words is enjoying - it's about identity, te reo Māori (one of the languages of the bilingual nation Aotearo, New Zealand), culture, ako (reciprocal learning) and productive partnerships. It is not just about educational success. So, what are the indicators of success in these areas?
Some of the indicators are, feeling confident to identify as Maori, are attending school more often / regularly, are staying at school longer and engaging with learning. Others are that they are achieving at higher levels across a range of achievement data, and leaving with qualifications and career pathways. There is also a strong focus on Maori focussing on school activities., and there is more whānau (family) involvement in the school, as well as more self-determined and less directed by the school. I tentatively ask...the involvement of whānau in the school, and in an active role, not a token role of sports and fêtes - is this something that all schools should be aiming for across all parents / whānau? Is there a received notion by many of the communities that the school is the 'expert'? How can this be re-balanced? So the relationship becomes more of a partnership where everyone's experience and expertise is celebrated and meaningful - although Mere cautioned that Maori experience of partnerships is that they tended to uneven. One of the participants suggested this resource - the Te Kauhua materials: http://tetereauraki.tki.org.nz/Te-Kauhua.
\Mere recommended some resources for supporting schools to help inclusion, including some books. She also talked about the power of Communities of Practice and Wenger's notion of brokerage whereby CoPs become "important paces of negotiation, learning, meaning and identity "( Wenger, 1998, p, 133) . Over time, Mere asserted, communities develop a unique perspective on their topic as well as a body of common knowledge, practices, and approaches...They may even develop a common sense of identity.
Intervening with leadership in school systems and structures to help consideration of the relationship between what teachers are doing and what school leadership is doing - and what the interface looks like. The goal is focusing on improving target students' participation and achievement. Leadership in these interventions needs to be responsive and proactive rather than reactive.
Mere closed with the idea that effective leadership engages with influencing change then sustaining and managing reform that supports the shared vision...until it is "business as usual".
Image: Māori Thermal Village. CC (BY NC) licensed Flickr image by Seth Mazow: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sethmazow/2088404646/
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