Indigenous knowledge and cultural responsiveness in my practice
Māori are the tangata whenua – the indigenous people of New Zealand and their culture, belief system, long-standing traditions, and practices are an integral part of New Zealand history.
Before the colonial education system that was imposed on Maori in 1816, there existed a curriculum which was divided into three parts, Te kete aronui, Te kete tuauri and Te kete tuatea. Group learning and cooperative teaching were the norms within this setting, with whanau and extended whanau all playing important roles.
However, under the colonial education system, Maori have failed to achieve for many generations. This is not surprising when you deprive a society of their values, beliefs and traditions as well as speaking their language it is no wonder that they have failed to thrive in such conditions. It took until 1986 for the first Kura Kaupapa Maori to be established at Hoani Waititi Marae in Auckland.
During the last 14 years, there has been a shift in policy to reject deficit thinking, which was borne from many years of delivering a failed system.
At RBHS our vision is “to become the outstanding Boys’ High School in New Zealand” this has meant developing an understanding of where our students come from and acknowledging and appreciating the cultural values that underpin their existence as young Maori men. We effectively promote and support student learning, offering students experience through a wide range of learning activities and demonstrate high levels of achievement in sport, the arts, tikanga Māori and leadership. Global experiences and education opportunities outside the classroom are part of the school’s Raukura Rotorua culture. Student achievement is celebrated, and leadership is encouraged. The quality of the teaching here at RBHS is underpinned by five years of Te Kotahitanga in the school.
Communication is one of the most important things between school, whanau, and the wider communities. At RBHS communication is a shared process. Academic Review Day is just one avenue of communication we have with parents, and it is one of the most important days in our term. This day is a chance for teachers to not only seek input from parents and whanau about the needs and aspirations of their son.
But it also allows us to engage with parents and the wider community to establish a positive relationship. One of the reasons that the academic achievement in our school has climbed in recent years has been because of the valuable planning and sharing of information that takes place at the interviews held on this day. These meetings are essential for our academic success as well as good academic and career pathways planning.