Engaging Māori Learners A Pedagogical Framework Kate Timms-Dean and Jenny Rudd, Otago Polytechnic, 2011

Engaging Maori learners

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Timms-Dean, K., & Rudd, J. (2011, October). Engaging Maori learners [PowerPoint slides]. Paper presentes at the National Tertiary Teaching & Learning Conference 2011, Nelson, New Zealand.

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Page 1: Engaging Maori learners

Engaging Māori Learners:A Pedagogical Framework

Kate Timms-Dean and Jenny Rudd, Otago Polytechnic, 2011

Page 2: Engaging Maori learners

Mihi & Mihimihi

• Greet each other: Tēnā koe (hello to one)

• Who are your ancestors, where do they come from?

• Who are your parents, where do they come from?

• Who are you? Where do you come from? Where do you live?

• Include siblings, partner and children if you want to…


Page 3: Engaging Maori learners

The Koru Model of Teaching & Learning

• Koru is the young fern frond or leaf

• Consists of stalk and blades

• When young tightly furled

• Unfurls as it matures


Page 4: Engaging Maori learners

The Koru Model of Teaching & Learning

•Koru used in carving and tattoos•Associated with identity, growth and new life

‘Taonga Tuku Iho’

“the passing of life, information and resources from one generation to the

next”(Tauroa, 2009; Wilson 2001-2003)

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The Koru Model of Teaching & Learning




Tūmanako & Pūmanawa




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• Why do we see the mauri as so central in a teaching and learning model?

• How do we go about nurturing it?

Page 7: Engaging Maori learners

Why nurturing the mauri is central

o Will I cope?o Will I be good enough?o Will it meet my needs?

•Fears and anxieties weaken the mauri and reduce a student’s capacity to engage and learn

• Students come with fears and anxieties

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Reducing Fears and Anxiety

o Clear course outlines, explicit marking criteria

o Introducing students to support services

o Manageable timetables

o An ‘Amazing Race’ campus tour

o A ‘treasure hunt’ in the Library

A good orientation and induction process can reduce fears and anxieties:

But for some students the fears and anxieties go very much deeper….

Page 9: Engaging Maori learners

Reducing Fears and Anxiety

• Ice breakers • Name games• Sharing kai• Group activities • Learning waiata• Brainstorming and

sharing fears

Can all help but for some students the fears and anxieties go much deeper still…..

Page 10: Engaging Maori learners

Why nurturing the mauri is central

Smith (2010, p.14) has this to say…

….“In a classroom situation, having been a teacher for many years, I have always thought about working with young children—how easy it is to hurt the mauri, as a teacher, as someone in power. A look, a word, an action can all do damage and it can happen in a single moment. Easy to damage,hard to recover”…

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How do we nurture our students mauri?

By attending to….

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Included in our framework to indicate importance of taking care of student’s physical, mental, spiritual and social needs.

Refers to:•Hospitality: providing a nurturing environment•Ensuring that people feel welcome

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ManaakiPhysical Mental Spiritual Social

• Room set up• Temperature• Sufficient space• Air circulation• Plugs for computers• Lighting• Comfortable chairs• Water• Flat structure• (Not lecture theatre)• Tables for group work• Dedicated space (a

home base for students)

• Attending to learning styles

• Visual• Aural/Audio• Reader/• Writer• Kinesthetic

• Stimulating content • VARK approach to

assessments• Appropriate support

and scaffolding• One on one tutorial

support• Computer labs• Fish & Chip nights• Peers support

• Clarity about expectations, structure, roles and boundaries responsibilities

• Providing an Agenda• Powhiri/ mihi

whakatau/mihi haere• Mihimihi• Karakia and blessings• Opening and closing

rituals• Acknowledging

ancestors/ Whakapapa

• Acknowledging ancestors presence

• Outdoor activities• Carving, weaving or


• Mihimihi• Introductions• Signature search• Name games• Icebreakers• Group activities• Singing waiata• Dedicated space• Eating together• Group assessments• Learning


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Refers to:•Genealogy: incorporates ancestors as well as immediate whānau.  

Included in our framework to indicate importance of creating space for ancestors and whānau in the classroom….

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• Appreciating that students belong to whanau and that this has implications for who they are and what they bring

• Encouraging potential students to bring whanau members to initial pre-course meetings• Including a ‘meet the family’ session during orientation• Including whanau in official welcoming ceremonies• A whanau orientated signature search• Allowing children to come to class as required and making it comfortable for parents to feel okay

about children being present• Fostering a family tolerant environment among class members• Asking class members to invite whanau with relevant expertise to come to class and share their

stories and experiences• Inviting whanau to assessment presentations and end of term/semester/year celebrations –

establishing a class culture around this• Being flexible about due dates in recognition of family/community responsibilities• Creating opportunities to talk about whanau/whakapapa and share photo’s histories, and family

stories• Using mihi whakatau and mihi harere ceremonies within your class• Sharing of yourself appropriately to indicate that it is okay to talk about family• Using the term whakapapa and talking about ancestry and the way that it impacts on values,

beliefs, customs and so on

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Refers to: •The building and maintenance of whānau connections and relationships through shared experience.•Extends to non-kinship relations where there is mutual need, support and reciprocity.

Included in our framework to indicate the importance establishing relationship, belonging and a sense of community

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• Modelling warm, trusting and reciprocal relationships between staff involved on a programme including support, teaching, tutoring and management

• Ice breakers and name games are essential. Plan orientation activities so that students go for breaks in groups or in pairs with tasks to discuss. This helps to form relationships and ensures that students aren’t left out or alone in these initial days.

• Making time to see students one on one• Having an open door policy or an open door policy one day per week• Provide opportunities for students to share their stories and experiences during class time or as

part of assessments. • Lots of group activities during class time provides an excellent opportunity to move among the

groups and build relationships with group members• Discussion based activities in the classroom allow students to get to know each other• Incorporate activities involving self-awareness and awareness of others into orientation sessions:

temperament, personality and learning styles tests work well with class discussion regarding individual and group characteristics and needs i

• Sharing of characteristics and needs in the creation of a class kawa• Group work activities that include developing and revisiting a group kawa. • Group activities that encourage students meeting outside of class time• Planned social events as part of the academic year• Discussion forums/ Facebook

Page 18: Engaging Maori learners

Tūmanako & Pūmanawa

• Tūmanako refers to desires or aspirations while Pūmanawa refers to natural talents.

Included in our framework to indicate the importance of a Strengths approach when seeking to engage Māori students.

Page 19: Engaging Maori learners

Tūmanako & Pūmanawa• Focusing on talents, aspirations, resources and opportunities• Have students carry out a strengths analysis to identify their own strengths and support needs• Encouraging students to develop and share aspiration based goal plans• Teaching reflective practice and including a reflective journal as an assessment task • Encouraging students to identify their own strengths and point out the strengths they see in others• Utilising a peer marking model• Adapting your approach to accommodate the student rather than expecting the student to accommodate

you• Proactively seeking to counteract students negative self-image and consistently reinforcing students

achievements, abilities, talents, courage and resilience• High expectations – expect that your students are capable, expect that they are here to succeed• Providing opportunities for each student to be successful• Mixing up assessments – catering to different learning styles• Giving options: Write an essay… or a song or paint a picture• Recognising, allowing for and integrating the expertise and talents that each student brings • Integrating academic and literacy skills• Scaffolding assessments ie: an annotated bibliography, followed by a structured essay and then an essay• Focused tutorial support, peer support• Never assume that you have explained yourself sufficiently• Detailed written feedback on every assessment – explain where the student has gone wrong – tell them

what they need to do to improve• Support them before due dates so they can submit on time and pass• Praise and celebrate achievements

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Included in our model because supporting Māori students in a way that works for them is crucial in effective engagement.

Refers to support.

Bishop and Berryman (2006) drew attention to the deficit support model – whereby Māori students have been perceived as academically limited and provided with remedial support.  

Page 21: Engaging Maori learners


• Meeting face to face prior to course commencement• Meeting with Whanau• Talking with caregivers when a student starts getting behind• Explaining assessment tasks orally• Oral assessments• Open door office policy – students to feel welcome and at home• Lots of group work and collaborative tasks • Lots of opportunity for discussion• Increasing my knowledge of tikanga• Increasing my use and confidence with Te Reo• Teaching and singing waiata as part of class processes• Integrating Te Tiriti and Te Ao Maori through-out my curriculum• Welcoming whanau into the classroom environment• Fish and Chip Study nights – being prepared to stay until the work is done• Being Flexible• Partnership teaching model

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Included in our framework because these are essential qualities in an educator who is committed to engaging Māori students. 

Refers to compassion, empathy and love.

Page 23: Engaging Maori learners


• Completing your own education regarding Te Tiriti o Waitangi and doing so with an open heart• Having some insight and understanding into what it means/ has meant for a people to have so

much taken away from them• Bringing that learning and the compassion that arises from it, to your classroom• Understanding why Māori students might not always come to class• Considering what you can do to heal that damaged mauri• Understanding why Māori students might struggle trying to a function in a Western teaching and

learning environment. • Trying to understand the differences – what does a kaupapa Maori classroom look like/ feel like –

how can you offer some of that in your own classroom• Knowing that when you support Maori students – one on one and with oral explanations of an

assessment you do so because you have failed to cater to their learning style in your classroom – not because they are less able than their counterparts

• Deeply, genuinely caring for your student’s well-being

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Included in our framework because it reminds us to bring social justice, human rights and a power analysis to our work as educators

Is underpinned by the notion that some individuals and groups have more than fair share of power in society.

Page 25: Engaging Maori learners


• Pro-actively working with students to reduce internalised stigma – removing the burden of individual blame. For Maori students this often involves teaching them about the Tiriti o Waitangi and Tiriti breaches. Freire (1996) calls this contextualising or consciousness raising.

• Consciousness raising to increase the students awareness and understanding of social structures that have prevented them from educational achievement.

• Creating opportunities for the student to experience solidarity: sharing with others who have had similar experiences

• Providing the supports and resources that will enable students to successfully achieve• Stimulating students interest in knowledge and learning• Maintaining awareness of power issues in the classroom. Knowing that no matter how friendly you

think you are, you hold a position of power over the students. Consciously acknowledging the power imbalance and seeking to counteract it where possible

• Maintaining humility. Always remembering your limitations particular in relation to other cultures.

Page 26: Engaging Maori learners

Paulo Freire (1996)

• Love, humility and faith establish trust

• Trust enables dialogue

• Dialogue enables communication

• Communication allows education

• Education enables hope

• Hope requires critical reflection

• Critical reflection results in growth

Kate can you embed this – if you want it – otherwise just an un

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwwEchnBs4U&feature=related – fern growing 2 mins

Page 27: Engaging Maori learners

Waiata: Te Aroha

Te Aroha

Te Whakapono

Te Rangimarie

Tātou tātou e

Page 28: Engaging Maori learners


Bishop, R., & Berryman, M. (2006). Culture speaks: cultural relationships and classroom learning. Wellington,

New Zealand: Huia Books.

Friere, P. (1996). Pedagogy of the oppressed. London: Penguin Books.

Rapp, C., & Goscha, R. (2006). The strengths model: case management with people with psychiatric disabilities

(2nd Ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Smith, L.T. (2010). Smith, L. (2010). Opening Address. Proceedings of the traditional knowledge conference

2008: Tetatau Pounamu: The Greenstone door. Traditional knowledge and gateways to balanced

relationships. Auckland: Knowledge Exchange Programme. Retrieved from


Tautoa, D. (2009). He koru ana ra tāku. The koru: the safe symbol in New Zealand design? Honours thesis.

Whanganui, New Zealand: Whanganui School of Design. Accessed from


Wilson, J.M. (2007-2011). Ta Moko. Accessed from http://awanderingminstreli.tripod.com/tamoko.htm