Harakeke: Enhancing Māori Student Engagement and Achievement in a Mainstream Primary School
Anderson, D. (2009). Harakeke: Enhancing Māori Student Engagement and Achievement in a Mainstream Primary School (Thesis, Master of Education (MEd)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/3953
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/3953
Ministry of Education research indicates that the inclusion of culture and te reoMāori in teaching can help improve Māori student education. If students can findthe links between what is being taught and the relevance to their own lives theninformation will be easier to retain. Research has also shown that environmentaleducation provides relevant learning that can connect students to their world.Māori indigenous knowledge (IK) and environmental education (EE) share manycommonalities. One such similarity is the relationship between tangata (people)and nature. While the sometimes destructive nature of this relationship has lead toglobal environmental issues, this study explores the combination of IK and EE toenhance Māori student engagement and achievement in a mainstream primaryschool.An intervention unit based on harakeke was designed delivered in a Year 5/6boys' only class in a suburban mainstream primary school, over a 10 week period.The environmental and socio-cultural significance of harakeke enabled a range ofkaupapa (themes) to be included in the unit. This included; eeling and how tomake and use a hinaki (eel/fish trap), karakia (prayer) and the relevance whenharvesting kai (food) and resources. Each kaupapa also provided the opportunityfor students to increase their te reo Māori vocabulary, with the introduction ofkaupapa specific words. The Māori kaupapa also enabled the students to view EEfrom a Māori perspective, including the introduction of rahui - a form ofconservation.The findings indicated that the incorporation of a Māori kaupapa strengthenedstudent engagement, improved student use of te reo Māori, improved the selfesteemand confidence for some students, increased students' awareness ofharakeke and the value and versatility of the plant, and increased their awarenessfrom a Māori perspective on sustainable harvesting.Bringing Māori kaupapa into the classroom allowed the classroom teacher, whowas Māori, the opportunity to share her own lived experiences of IK, as these arepassed down from generation to generation, and people are born into them. ThePage | iiifamiliarity of whanau offered the teacher the opportunity to bring this concept intothe classroom and teach values that could flow into all curriculum areas whilestrengthening relationships between the teacher and student, student and studentand teacher and student whanau.This study has shown that both IK and EE, while each complex in their own right,have the ability to provide a holistic curriculum approach that can lead toengagement and achievement by Māori students in a mainstream school.
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