All students enjoy and achieve education success that embraces languages, culture and identities:
What are we noticing?
What are we doing?
In 2019 when we organised our Student Voice interview groups we were very deliberate about how we structured these to enable students from a whole range of backgrounds to have a voice. We noticed that unless we asked very specific questions based around inclusive practice, aspects around cultural responsiveness were not mentioned by students. We noticed that when we arranged a group of Māori and Pasifika students only, they felt more able to talk about their experiences.
“I think it's like not having to hide your Maori or Pasifika self - cause I don’t think we would have felt as comfortable if we had, like, a kind of a mix (mixed interview group with non-māori pacific students) - or be as much fun- lol I walked in and I was like ohhh.”
Our Māori students spoke about the small ways in which they felt their cultural experience was not always valued.
“Some people are just so not considerate about the way they pronounce Māori words and like every time I try to correct them, I don't correct them meanly or anything, I like, okay, you are supposed to say this like this... and they are like - well who cares- and I’m like, I care .”
“In Kapa Haka you can actually relate to people and in Poly club too, and people understand you and you can understand them. As for your other friend groups, they cannot understand you in the way that they (Kapa Haka and Poly club) do. It’s just hard to fit in, in some places.”
“ I think specifically for Pasifika and Māori students it’s like, really important to have your culture involved in school.”
Our staff are becoming more aware of the rich and diverse cultural capital that our students bring with them into our classrooms. Students and teachers are understanding the huge benefits that developing relationships with each other can bring.
“I think what we have going is good- just because it doesn't look like a marae doesn't mean it’s not a marae: it’s the people that make it.”
The AST’s and our WIST’s that are involved with leading culturally responsive practice, meet together in March for a day with Kathe Tawhiwhirangi-Perry and Linda Ojala from CORE Education, our Lead PD provider for our Kāhui Ako.
Kathe’s bio says, “She is passionate about raising student achievement and shifts deficit theorising into strategic future-focused, action-based pathways.” She certainly did that for us, bringing us together to listen to each other's stories, celebrating the success we are already having within our schools, and helping us see a way forward as a united group.
We have more days like this planned this year and feel that we now have momentum going forward.
Our Within School teachers (WIST’S) continue with their individual projects such as: