Yvonne Nikora, Deputy principal at Waerenga o Kuri School, talks about impact the Māori achieving success as Māori (MASAM) framework has had on her teaching. She describes using technologies to enable students as they create a story of their turangawaewae. For students, the result of this authentic learning context has been developing a sense of belonging and ownership.
There’s been a huge impact on my teaching in the classroom after reviewing the MASAM document. It’s made me sit back and really think about what I’m doing as a teacher, how it’s making my students feel, and how that’s impacting their learning.
As a part of the beginning of the year, I always sit back and chat with my students about what is important to them, what they want to learn about in the year, and also what strengths they have. I also ask the parents about this because sometimes parents can just open my eyes to something different and it just helps me to hook that learner in.
We are really lucky to have multi-level classrooms. I think it’s a really powerful way to have a classroom setup. It immediately allows us to work in a tuakana teina situation. Our older students are reinforcing their learning by sharing and working with the younger students. The younger students also get to sometimes stand up and be the teacher.
Our Turangawaewae, as us as tangatawhenua of this area, this has led to discussions around what the students would like to look at in particular in their place one of them this year has been looking at legends, New Zealand legends and linking them to stories from our area and then we wanted to create our own story.
Our ICT technologies walked along with us as we went through this process. We took photos of places we thought would be important to our legend. We went and visited the waterfall where the students had based most of the legend around. Where the taniwha emerged from under the water and spoke with the character in the story.
All of this work evolved into a story about us and as an outcome of that the students are able to leaf through those pages whether it be the physical pages or the online book that we created and they’re able to say, “Wow, that’s my place. I come from there. I went to that place and I went eeling. I built a fire there and we ate marshmallows there.” The children have had to do all the different processes involved in reading, writing, constructing a story that any author would have gone through to create the book but they’ve done it in such a meaningful way to them that every time they view their book they’re so incredibly proud of, of the outcome.
This process has empowered our students through working in an authentic context, through being, having a huge choice within what we’re actually learning about. It’s empowered them to be able to now take ownership of what is actually happening for them at school. Everyday they come to school with new ideas, new ways that we can be approaching our learning programmes. It is our job as the teachers to help them and support them and ensure that this is led to fruition.