|dc.description.abstract||This study was an opportunity for teacher educator participants to work together with Te Ao Māori (the world of Māori) whilst learning how to be more proficient at enacting Tātaiako cultural competencies in a mainstream university setting.
Māori living in New Zealand have had poor educational and health status in comparison to the broader New Zealand population (Statistics New Zealand, 2016). In an attempt to rectify this, New Zealand has a Māori Education Strategy called Ka Hikitia, Accelerating Success, 2013-2017, which aims to have the education system performing in ways that “ensure Māori students are enjoying and achieving education success as Māori” (Ministry of Education, 2013, p. 1). From 2001 to 2012 Te Kōtahitanga, a research and professional development project, investigated how to improve the educational achievement of Māori students in mainstream secondary school classrooms. A positive outcome was the development of an effective teaching profile of a culturally responsive pedagogy of practice for classroom teachers. In 2011 a resource called Tātaiako, Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners was created by the Ministry of Education in collaboration with the New Zealand Teachers Council, to support teacher-educators, teachers and student-teachers to engage in culturally relevant practices with rangatahi (young people). As a teacher educator, working at the University of Otago College of Education, I noticed a gap between the aims of the resource Tātaiako and the ‘how’ to implement, and use the resource.
Thus, in this study, I facilitated a professional development (PD) initiative for a year with a group of five teacher educators from the University of Otago College of Education. The aims of this study were:
1. To gain insight into teacher educators’ understandings of Tātaiako cultural competencies and how they would practice the Tātaiako cultural competencies in their mahi (work).
2. To develop a conceptual framework to give purpose, relevance and focus to what and how the Professional Development (PD) hui (meeting, workshop) were delivered.
To achieve the above aims the underlying concepts of the New Zealand Health and Physical Education (HPE) curriculum, the principles of Kaupapa Māori theory and Tātaiako cultural competencies were woven together into a conceptual framework called Te Aka Matua. The conceptual framework was the analytical tool used to analyse the data/information gained through data collection methods, specifically semi-structured interviews and journals. The journals were integral to the PD hui and the interviews occurred at the beginning and the end of the hui. Narrative/story telling was the mechanism used to represent the findings of the analysis.
The findings from this study have shown that the PD initiative supported teacher educators with the ‘how’ of gaining knowledge about Tātaiako cultural competencies, and how to enact the Tātaiako cultural competencies. For example, the participants in the study identified whakawhanaungatanga (building relationships) was a way of being as they saw this as having potential to assist them to be effective teachers of Te Ao Māori with tauira (student teachers). The participants demonstrated the way in which ako and wānanga, which were conveyed through narrative pedagogy and active teaching strategies, were powerful learning tools for the participants to gain knowledge about Tātaiako cultural competencies. Key to developing the participants’ understanding and building knowledge, was the way in which local contexts were linked to tangata whenuatanga. Manaakitanga was enacted in a variety of ways for the learning and well-being of the teacher educators, student teachers and at times the wider College of Education community. Te Reo Māori was enacted through the cultural competencies with tauira, no matter what level of proficiency the teacher educators had.
A main finding was the development of my conceptual framework, Te Aka Matua. The developed conceptual framework has potential to be a useful tool for other researchers in their fields as it became the manawanui kapakapa (heartbeat) of the PD hui and subsequently the study. The shared findings and examples of teaching and learning resources also have the potential to inform teaching practices and learning opportunities in early childhood, primary, secondary and tertiary settings.||