Equity, inclusivity and shared humanity: Addressing intergenerational failure of schooling for Māori
Permanent link to Research Commons versionhttps://hdl.handle.net/10289/15290
Despite decades of education reform aimed at Māori students succeeding in schooling, the New Zealand education system’s failure to engage effectively with Māori is persistent with Māori underachievement remaining chronic and seemingly intractable. This thesis examines the interface between leadership and professional learning in a single sex secondary school during their engagement with Te Kotahitanga (Unity of Purpose). The school’s leaders were focused on closing the achievement gap between Māori and non-Māori students and asserted that if students remained engaged at school into the senior year levels, they were more likely to “achieve success”. Te Kotahitanga’s initial focus on teaching and learning in the junior years 9 and 10 presented a potential solution. As this school began to engage with Te Kotahitanga, Ka Hikitia (to step up), a strategy aimed at Māori students achieving educational success as Māori, was launched. Thus, a mandate for school reform focused on Māori potential supported the professional learning provided by Te Kotahitanga. The findings, presented as quantitative and qualitative evidence, show that school leaders focused on their teachers implementing a more culturally responsive and relational pedagogy at Years 9 and 10 in order to close the achievement gap between Māori and their non-Māori peers. They believed that this would prepare Māori students for the more formal and traditional learning experience required in the senior school, aimed at getting through important national qualifications. While teachers and leaders who were fully engaged in Te Kotahitanga transformed the classroom experiences for their junior and senior learners, not all teachers and leaders engaged, therefore not all learners experienced the change in pedagogy throughout their time at this school. The findings also uncover layers of bias within the school and its community which prevented Māori families from contributing to their children’s education on their own terms. The two key foci, closing the achievement gap between Māori and non-Māori and retaining Māori students into the senior school obfuscated a focus on shared humanity, equity, belonging and better engagement for all. While this research took place in New Zealand with Māori students these findings can contribute to those involved with school reform especially those in other colonised countries where indigenous students and their families face similar issues.
The University of Waikato
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