Carol Marks, Professional Learning Facilitator, Educational Leadership Project, New Zealand
Tuesday 22 August 2017
Our Code, Our Standards states “We recognise Te Tiriti o Waitangi as a
Ka Hikitia is another document that guides us in our practice.It offers schools and teachers practical applications of core principles that provide a foundation for culturally responsive practice. Ka Hikitia means "to step up, to lift up or to lengthen one,s stride. It means stepping up how the education system performs to ensure Maori students are enjoying and achieving education success as Maori.This strategy acknowledges the importance that values, identity, language, and culture play in a Maori learner's education' The five guiding principles of this strategy are The Treaty of waitangi; Maori potential approach; Ako-a two-way teaching and learning process; identity' language and culture count; and productive partnerships.
Working with a policy framework like Ka Hikitia runs the risk of becoming a new compliance requirement rather than a broad commitment to improve education for Maori learners and if we are to make a committed difference to the learning outcomes for Maori then it is our attitudes,thinking and behaviours that must change so this framework will be effective.
I was reading a learning story this morning at a centre where teachers have reflected on the pedagogy that impacts on the happiness and learning for their Maori tamariki. This story was about Gabriel’s taonga, a beautiful book about the story of his journey as a premature baby along with photos of his whanau.
Embedded in this story were the words Whanau where life begins and Aroha (love) never ends. This story within his portfolio will add to such a meaningful learning journey that will strengthen the image he will have of himself as a learner and as a person, a child deeply loved by his whanau and having this taonga also treasured by his teachers. It is also an example of Tīkanga whakaako: Learning and teaching within a Māori context based on whanaungatanga and nurturing the child, the soul , within a Maori context and strengthening the relationship between Gabriel and his whanau in such a meaningful way. It also is a lovely example of the principle of Family and Community underpinning the curriculum.
The wider world of family and community is an integral part of early childhood curriculum