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Incidental teacher<->student moments in an Aotearoa New Zealand secondary school: Entangled encounters with key competencies

This study focuses on the performance of Key Competencies of the New Zealand curriculum in incidental teacher<->student moments. It makes visible a significant and often taken-for-granted portion of teachers’ daily work. Situated in one Aotearoa New Zealand secondary school, the research material of this study was generated in two cycles of conversations with teachers. In these conversations the teachers spoke about ordinary, unplanned moments with students. As the school is composed of more than 50% Māori students, I spoke first with individual Māori teachers at the school, inquiring into their knowledge of key competencies, and how that pedagogical knowledge related to knowledge and practice from whakaaro Māori. In the second cycle of generating research material, a collaborative group of Māori and Pākehā teachers engaged in a recursive process of inquiring together into stories participants told of everyday encounters with students. In this inquiry the names of key competency categories were put in the background as the group focused their inquiry on the teacher’s values, knowledges and beliefs that were contributing to action in the moment. My analysis of the research material is situated in the field of posthuman philosophy and relational<->materialist theorising. Drawing on the work of Deleuze and Guattari, Massumi, Barad and Bennett, I applied Barad’s methodology of diffractive analysis and paid attention to multiple material and discursive forces and intensities at play in each story. In this analysis, diverse forces such as colonised histories, educational discourse, human and more-than-human materialities, whakaaro Māori, hope and belief, were evidenced intra-acting together. I noticed how these forces invited the mobilisation and performance of key competency actions in the service of becoming and relating with the world. This study shifts thinking with key competencies from the reductionist territory of the individual human and re-territorialises them as dynamic performances of becoming. It contributes to a re-thinking of subjectivity and potentiality in the place of schooling in Aotearoa New Zealand. As the multi-dimensional entangled complexity of day-to-day pedagogical encounters is disclosed, teacher<->student intra-actions become known as ripe opportunities for performances of actions that come under the umbrella of key competencies. The study opens new ways of thinking about how key competency learning is produced in secondary schools, and how the placetimemattering of the school shapes that learning. I explore diffractive patterns as key competencies entangle with posthumanism and with whakaaro Māori in everyday teacher<->student encounters. I present a way of thinking with key competencies that aligns closely with whakaaro Māori and posthumanism, and offers a creative and ethical orientation to life and learning. I think with the teacher<->student relational moment as a significant site of learning, and how knowledge of affect and relational-practices of knowing and recognition might contribute to teachers’ professional adaptive expertise.
Type of thesis
Graham, J. A. (2019). Incidental teacher<->student moments in an Aotearoa New Zealand secondary school: Entangled encounters with key competencies (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12737
The University of Waikato
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