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Listening to the voices of Year 13 Māori students: A case study in a New Zealand secondary school

This research focuses on listening to the voices of Year 13 academically successful Māori students in a large, urban, mainstream, co-educational, decile 4, New Zealand secondary school. Traditionally, researchers have tended to emphasise the poor academic performance of Māori students in New Zealand. In contrast, this qualitative case study, however, seeks to understand what influences and motivates the academically successful Year 13 Māori students who have gained the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 2 and who returned to school to study for NCEA Level 3. Semi structured interviews as conversations with all thirteen Māori students who had achieved NCEA Level 2 formed the basis of this research. Five of their parents, seven of their teachers and the principal were also interviewed. The findings show that these students all stress the importance of their family, in particular, one family member or significant adult in their lives who valued education and supported the student, influencing and encouraging their motivation and self-efficacy. Building positive relationships with their teachers was the next strongest influence on their academic success followed closely by the positive influence of their friends. Self-motivation was mainly extrinsic. The students perceived that the principal had little effect on their individual achievement. The teachers also acknowledge the importance of building positive relationships with their students and acknowledge the benefits of the reflective practice provided by the Te Kotahitanga project in highlighting this factor. The findings suggest the excellent initiatives currently taking place in the school need to be continued or strengthened and that further interventions which target particular Māori students, rather than are global across the school, should be introduced.
Type of thesis
Kay, J.-M. (2008). Listening to the voices of Year 13 Māori students: A case study in a New Zealand secondary school (Thesis, Master of Educational Leadership (MEdLeadership)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/2800
The University of Waikato
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