Ko au te whenua, te whenua ko au – I am the land, the land is me: An autoethnographic investigation of a secondary school teacher’s experience seeking to enrich learning in outdoor education for Māori students.
Townsend, J. E. (2014). Ko au te whenua, te whenua ko au – I am the land, the land is me: An autoethnographic investigation of a secondary school teacher’s experience seeking to enrich learning in outdoor education for Māori students. (Thesis, Master of Sport and Leisure Studies (MSpLS)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/9005
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/9005
This thesis is my story as an outdoor educator, as a researcher, and a co-participant reflecting on my own actions and experiences as well as those of my students. In this autoethnography I share my revelations and tensions in my role as an outdoor education teacher seeking to enrich the experiences of Māori students. Māori culture and history have largely been ignored in the outdoor education classrooms and environments of Aotearoa New Zealand. After teaching the subject for ten years I didn’t perceive that I was perpetuating the same invisibility in my own outdoor education course. Over this time a number of questions that had fermented at the back of my mind came to the fore; ‘why are so few Māori students opting to take outdoor education as a senior secondary school subject?’ and ‘how can I make the subject of outdoor education more desirable and appealing to Māori?’ A place-responsive approach incorporates and values traditional ways of learning through the notion of place and the stories attached to them. The cultural context of learning about and through place has the potential to provide learning opportunities that are relevant and meaningful to all learners but particularly Māori. Place-responsive pedagogies allow outdoor educators to create an environment where language, knowledge, culture and values are normal, valid and legitimate – contexts where Māori students can be themselves. Through this research I have found that the implementation of a place responsive approach has had significant implications for Year twelve outdoor education at Mount Maunganui College. The improvement in Māori student achievement and numbers selecting the subject have been affirming. Ko au te whenua, te whenua ko au – I am the land, the land is me
University of Waikato
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