Indigenous epistemology in a national curriculum framework?

In this article, a group of four indigenous Māori educators and one non-Māori educator comment on a proposed amendment to the New Zealand National Curriculum Framework to replace the current separate sets of skills, values and attitudes with five generic performance-based key competencies. The paper discusses important parallels between western/European sociocultural theorizing on human development and learning (on which the key competencies seemed to be based), and the values, beliefs and preferred practices that are embodied within an indigenous Māori cultural worldview (Te Ao Māori). A Māori worldview is characterized by an abiding concern for the quality of human relationships that need to be established and maintained if learning contexts are to be effective for Māori students, and for these relationships to balance individual learning and achievement against responsibilities for the well-being and achievement of the group. Within such a worldview, education is understood as holistic, collective, experiential and dependent upon a free exchanging of teaching and learning roles. The article describes five specific cultural constructs within this worldview that highlight Māori traditional understandings of human development and learning and teaching, and aligns and compares these constructs with the five key competencies proposed. The article argues that the worldviews of Māori people in New Zealand provide an extensive and coherent framework for theorizing about human development and education, and are able to contribute strongly and positively to the development of a national school curriculum for the benefit all students. Implications for other contexts can also be drawn.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Macfarlane, A. H., Glynn, T., Grace, W., Penetito, W., & Bateman, S. (2008). Indigenous epistemology in a national curriculum framework? Ethnicities, 8(1), 102-126.
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