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Changing hearts and minds: Investigating transformative praxis from participating in the Poutama Pounamu Blended Learning

The Poutama Pounamu Blended Learning offers a unique bicultural opportunity to critically examine ourselves within the fabric of our society. This metaphoric fabric includes an inequitable education system which was shaped by, and designed to support, an oppressive colonial agenda. Within this education system, which has methodically assimilated and underserved its indigenous Māori children, holding a mirror up to ourselves as teachers to examine our own beliefs, values and practices is absolutely critical but very rarely done. The Blended Learning’s carefully considered underpinnings of Critical and Kaupapa Māori theories provide the tools to raise consciousness. A conscientised educator can recognise, understand and deconstruct prejudice, bias and racism when it reveals itself. This process is achieved by resisting systems and practices that perpetuate the marginalisation of Māori in favour of power-balancing transformative praxis which works to value language, culture and identity as assets in education. This thesis describes the enduring implications of participating in the Poutama Pounamu Blended Learning by focusing on a number of educators in English-Medium state schools - the very context where our Māori children struggle the most to fit in and prove their potential. These educators suggest that this is an indigenised, evidence based, transformative education reform programme which has changed their lives and the lives of many others who have participated within this project. It has empowered and liberated Māori, Pākehā and Tauiwi participants alike by modelling the nurturing and liberating cultural relationships for responsive pedagogy that all students in Aotearoa should be experiencing. This is a pedagogy which can open hearts and minds and nurture a mauri ora pathway to educational freedom and success.
Type of thesis
The University of Waikato
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