Activity 9 – Evaluations of cultural responsiveness in practice

All cultures within our school are valued and accepted through active encouragement of non biased school culture and ethos. Staff members ensure that tamariki from all cultures are treated with respect and dignity and actively work towards maximizing the potential of each tamariki. We also have a Maori immersion unit at the school and the focus for tamariki in this unit is to succeed academically in Te Reo through the New Zealand curriculum.

Mainstream classrooms endeavour to develop an awareness of Te Mana o Aotearoa and provide the means of fostering better cultural understanding consistent with the Treaty of Waitangi. School celebrations reflect Maori Culture through signage, waiata, powhiri and daily conversations (e.g. greetings, weather, classroom language etc.) Study topics include components of te reo Maori and tikanga Maori as appropriate to the topic and the class level.

Whakopono (Honesty), Tumanako (Respect) Aroha and Tiaki pai (Caring) are reflected in our daily practices. Each class implements a class treaty which highlights a range of values as the school focus. These values are promoted through school assemblies and classroom programmes.

At least one Maori parent is represented on the Board of Trustees. The school consults with the Maori community through regular hui and panui on the first Monday of every month. Senior management are supportive of these meetings. Through the hui parents are regularly informed on tamariki achievement. The school also encourage parents and whanau to be active in supporting our immersion unit and to achieve the objective of improving learning outcomes for Maori tamariki.

Student Achievement Function (SAF)

I am the only classroom teacher at our school that is a member of our change team working with SAF. SAF Practitioners focus on assisting their schools to raise student achievement and improve their capability in one of five key areas: evaluative, instructional, organisational, cultural and linguistic intelligence and educationally powerful connections with parents, family and whānau. Our team has created a 26 week change plan which will build our own capability to:

  1. accelerate achievement levels of priority student groups including Māori students, and Pasifika students
  2. increase our capability in at least one of the five key areas above
  3. increase their capability to lead and embed change
  4. implement and continue an inquiry based approach into our performance and to drive sustainable changes within the school
  5. contribute to the Ministry’s Pasifika Education Plan goal of having 85% of year 1-10 Pasifika students meeting literacy and numeracy expectations, including achieving at or above in national standards (years 1–8)
  6. contribute to the Ministry’s Success for All target of having 80% of schools and kura demonstrating highly inclusive practices.

On Saturday the 31st of October we held our first Pasifika fono. This event was for our Pasifika families to join with some of our team in an informal conversation around the ongoing education and well-being of their children. It was a fantastic opportunity for these families to share their thoughts, aspirations, concerns and questions in a friendly social environment. The morning was well attended and began with a cup of tea and biscuits while everybody was welcomed by Hazel (our parent representative) Pamela (from The Ministry) and Peter (our Board Chair). We then watched a short video I made of some of our students from each cohort sharing their thoughts on school life. The food for morning tea was blessed by another one of our parents before we moved into the community room where, in café-style, parents were able to respond to a number of prompts about the schools future direction. Our next step is PD with .

References

Ministry of Education. (n.d.) Supporting Pasifika students. Retrieved November 10, 2015 from http://inclusive.tki.org.nz/guides/supporting-pasifika-students/

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