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Māori achieving success as Māori – changing teaching approach

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Duration: 2:33

Paul and Shelley Cornwall, describe the changes they have made to their teaching approach at Motu School. The Māori achieving success as Māori (MASAM) document gave them a starting point. Taking an inclusive approach, considering students' cultural backgrounds, and incorporating te reo Māori across the school curriculum has impacted on student learning. 

Paul Cornwall – Principal, Motu School: 
One of the biggest teaching changes that’s probably occurred through the incorporation of Māori language in all teaching and all parts of the day.

Jermial – student:
One of my learning goals for te reo is to pronounce names and places properly, and use it around the house. I’ve been practicing to say questions for Mum and my brothers.  

Paul Cornwall – Principal, Motu School:
We’re not just targeting the Māori students, its bringing everyone on board.

Shelley Cornwall – teacher:
We wanted success for all our kids, and our parents were really happy with that. When the question came along, how can you prove that Māori kids are succeeding as Māori? And, we think, how do you show that? We were a little bit confused. And so, when we got this document, it actually gave you a starting point, and it gave you and end point – something to strive for – and suddenly you’re aware of everything you do. What can we do while we’re doing this that’s going to make those kids feel good about themselves? And so, that’s kind of been a really interesting journey. It’s made my thinking change. I’m not just thinking about what we’re doing for success. I’m thinking about, how can we all succeed in our own way sort of thing?

When we’re planning, we have to really think about, this would be a really good unit to do but, how are we going to embrace the culture at the same time?

And so it’s made a whole different perspective for all of us and I think the kids are starting to take on the role of teacher quite a lot.  If you’re the expert then you’re the one delivering the stuff.

When we designed the learning maps on the kids desks, we were thinking, well we want our kids to be the best they can at all times, and so they actually came up with the criteria and so they had a big input.

And then, the questioning waka – well they got the idea that the levels of questioning are the oars and they can see where they are, where they put themselves and, like us with the MASAM document, they can see a path where they need to go.

It’s quite interesting with the students, in the past they were ready for you to direct them but now you find they’re actually really owning the journey, they’re owning the working, and the results are their results.

Tags: Primary, Tikanga Māori, Student agency, Cultural responsiveness, Inclusion, MASAM, Te reo Māori, Māori, Classroom practice