|synonyms: comfort, help, assist, encourage, succour, support, give strength to, be a source of strength to, be a tower of strength to, buoy up, carry, cheer up, hearten, see someone through.|
I actually don’t know where to start here. I have been challenged, inspired, provoked and basically rarked up. To help and try synthesise and make sense of my thinking, I have decided to talk through the lens of my daughter’s eyes. Why my daughter? Well, I think a narrative through her eyes, will show you a part of what has stirred me up. Before looking through her lens, it is pertinent to consider what has provoked me.
Who has stirred me up? You may well ask… Dr Ann Milne, and her Warrior Scholars from Kia Aroha College;
- Jacob Harris-Kaaka | Year 12 | Te Aupouri | Ngāti Kuri
- Timitimi Ropata | Year 12 | Ngāti Toa Rangatira | Ngai Tai
I was lucky enough to be a part of
#whiriatetangata our TOD for our for our Kāhui Ako. Ironically, part of their inspiring presentation was to critique the whole premise of Kāhui Ako. You can find a way into their awesome blog posts and research on Beyond Māori boys’ writing: Reading and writing our WORLD
“Kia Aroha College’s goal is to “Develop Warrior-Scholars.” Our designated-character sets out how we are different from regular state schools. Our Graduate Profiles make clear what success “as” Māori, Samoan and Tongan learners looks like at Kia Aroha College. Tino Rangatiratanga / Self-Determination is our rationale for ‘Why we do what we do’ at Kia Aroha College. Self-determination is about what Matua Graham Smith describes as the ongoing cycle of conscientising, resisting and transforming.” Beyond Māori boys’ writing: Reading and writing our WORLD [part 3].
There were so many aspects of the talk that sparked me, for many different reasons. My sense of social justice and moral purpose is why I do what I do. I want to make a difference and I will fight for unjust situations. I consider myself to be a proponent of critical pedagogy and if you read my past posts you will already know this. Some of the the thinking and influence that I have had within this lens are as follows.
When considering guiding questions within the field of education there is a deceptively simple one: What knowledge is of most valued? Historically, an extensive tradition has grown around a restatement of that question. Rather than “What knowledge is most valued?” the question has been reframed. It has become “Whose knowledge is most valued? (APPLE, 2004, 2000, 1996). In addition to whose knowledge is valued? I also recognise Praxis: Reflection and action. To no longer be prey to its force, one must emerge from it and turn upon it. This can be done only by means of the praxis: reflection and action upon the world in order to transform it (Freire, 1972 p.36). Considering the fore-mentioned “Praxis” should be a part of how we as educators “are” and “must be”. Alongside praxis is a need to ensure conscientization occurs. “Critical and liberating dialogue, which presupposes action, must be carried out with the oppressed at whatever the stage of their struggle for liberation” (Freire, 1972 p.52). • Conscientizaçào is most commonly translated as conscientization. The term encompasses Freire’s ideas and means in general terms ‘learning to perceive social, political, and economic contradictions, and take action against the oppressive elements of reality.’ (Freire, 1970 p. 17) This stood out to me when I was watching the video of Kia Aroha College and seeing the Kaiako in action. He was up fronting the power relations in society, he was allowing for that understanding of this to inform and empower his ākonga. Critical pedagogy is fundamentally committed to the development and evolvement of a culture of schooling that supports the empowerment of culturally marginalized and economically disenfranchised students. By doing so, this pedagogical perspective seeks to transform those classroom structures and practices that perpetuate undemocratic life (Baltodano, Darder & Torres, 2003, p.11). The ākonga at Kia Aroha College were experiencing that pedagogy in Praxis. Creating an environment for counter hegemony (Gramsci, 1976) to occur. Gramsci built on the ideas of Marx (1844), shifting from thesis and antithesis as opposing forces to form a dialectical relationship, to hegemony, counter-hegemony to create a new hegemony.
We must all do this, we must all be the antithesis to the “societal norms and culture” that are valued in society today. We must create an environment that disrupts this, challenges the status quo and empowers our students to create change. Kia Aroha College is living and breathing this. So are the Wharekura, living and breathing this for Māori achieving success as Māori.
#whiriatetangata slipped into an unconference and my uneasiness of the day ensured that I went straight to the pop up workshop on where to from here, after the powerful talk, what can we do? What change can we be? Or how can we ensure we ensure our ākonga can be. What do I mean by uneasiness? To tell you the truth. I am so proud of our Kura and what we attempt to do with shifting education. However, I was left with a sense of uneasiness in the morning. I will be open and honest here, I was uneasy that our Kapa Haka Rōpū was not here to welcome the manuhuri to our Kura by Pōwhiri, I was uneasy Maurie was not here to Kōrero Māori. Maurie was in Wellington working with NZQA and the MOE. Was there no other Tumuaki/Principals in our Kahui Ako that could Korero Māori? There was a Kōrero back after Anne spoke, but my heart said this should have been in Reo. We sing the school Waiata every morning and usually follow this tikanga and kauapapa. Why did we not do this that day? I realise there was multiple schools there within the Kahui Ako, but in a talk on “colouring in white spaces”, I was seeing the blank pages of a colouring book. We must live and breathe this every day. We are not a wharekura. However, we are a Kura of passionate teachers who want to challenge the status quo. I am inspired by my colleagues every day, in the shifts against institutions that we are making and the moral purpose that we collectively bring.
But….. are we doing enough? No? We must do more? I must do more, I must be the antithesis of what is valued in society, I must ensure that all our ākonga are valued and that this is not occurring…..
Good question from Claire. also put here by Lisa, inspired by Anne…
and the point of not deficit theorising here by Ros,
Back to my daughter’s eyes… My girl is the left hand one on the very first photo. I am Pakeha, her father is Māori. She lives with me and our blended whānau at Muriwai beach. She is from a split family, however, both her father and I have ensured she is loved, believed in and supported by all of us and our extended families. She experiences Awhinatanga and Mana Motuhake every day. In saying that, she did not know a great deal of her whakapapa and cultural connections. Her identity was predominantly influenced by me as a Pakeha mother. She has been to her Marae “Opurure” in Te Kuiti. However, she has not really known much of her iwi connections. She has grown and blossomed under the influence of a special man. I am grateful for the time she had with him and the impact he has had on her cultural identity. She has been connected to all of her whānau. However, she has just not really understood this. She has found aspects of this, still a long way to go. However, now thanks to Matua her nick name is “Maniapoto” Her connection to Ngati Maniapoto with the Joseph side of her whānau. Jaimee, my daughter has grown so much, in terms of identity wise through her time down at Rototuna High School and is continuing to grow back at Hobsonville Point Secondary. Two mainstream Kura that are attempting to break institutions and create change. Jaimee did something down the line and was influenced by a person with “mana” who epitomises being “whakaiti” who has an in depth understanding of tikanga and kaupapa Māori. Matua Anaru Keogh, who came from Ngā Taiātea College and is going back there. Jaimee joined Kapa Haka and that was the beginning….
She is in the above photos and her “Decile 10 Kura” in Hamilton as a new Kura Rototuna High School- 1 year old, attended and took part in the Tainui Regionals in Te Kuiti. One of only a couple of mainstream schools to take part… To say I was proud watching her and the ākonga is an understatement, I was beaming with pride, alongside Troy Collins another whānau/Mum of three ākonga in the Rōpū-Travis, Reggae and League. However, it is not just her learning in Kapa Haka, including Poi, Mau Rakau, Haka and Waiata that she has blossomed in, it is also her identity. Her other side of the whānau, the Poihipi side has links to Tainui and Ngaruawahia. I am sure that her Grandfather, who passed before she was born, would have been proud of her at the Tainui regionals. Her Father and whānau were there. Here she was on the stage of the Kura (Te Kuiti High) where her fathers cousins had all gone to school, in the region of her Marae. In addition I am sure he was proud to see her working in the wharekai at Hukunui Marae for the Pokai.
Not only has Jaimee been influenced by Matua, but also other passionate teachers at Rototuna. In her module “We the People” she experienced learning into her identity from Whaea Amy Hudson, Sally McBride and Kendyl Morris. Again through Art, English and History, looking into her own identity. Teachers such as this are part of the antithesis that I talk of, that are starting with culture, identity and relationships and challenging social norms. This is how Jaimee saw herself…
In my own module at the moment with Jessica called “Ko wai ahau?” which is Science and Mathematics. Our focus has been learning about why we are like we are. We are comparing western worldview of the biology of inheritance including cells, genes, and chromosomes, with Te Ao Maori ideas about whakapapa, genealogy, stories….and mokopuna. We have also been exploring the patterns of inheritance through mathematics and put into perspective how close we really are. We have looked at aspects of whakapapa, however, I wanted an expert who could show in action how whakapapa is passed on to the next generation. Matua Anaru (previously mentioned), was chosen by his Grandmother to pass on the whakapapa of his whānau. He came up to Hobsonville and helped take my class for the most awesome session. Explaining the tension he had at primary school, when the teacher talked of James Cook discovering NZ, the fact he thought his Nana was telling fibs about Kupe being first. How when he came home his Nan said not to challenge the Kaiako. Matua can whakapapa right back to Kupe. He talked to the ākonga about how they learnt chants of whakapapa like the old school way of telling times tables. He did some great whakawhanaungatanga activities and Mau Rakau-which he is Pou Waru in.
Rather than just focussing on Punnet squares and traits, homozygous recessive genes etc… we have looked from different world views. When I was working with the stories of Papatūānuku and Ranginui, Anthony knew a lot, I asked him of his connections to the story. He had learnt about it where he had come from in Kawakawa. So when Matua came up Anthony, stayed behind after class to personally thank Matua, I told of his connection, with Matua from Ngāpuhi. They connected straight away. Just as Matua had done with Jaimee and his same connections with her with Ngāti Maniapoto. If ākonga did not know their iwi connections, Matua would ask their surnames and often find connections through this. Down the line, I worked with a project where I my group helped to make all the Maro for the Kapa Haka group, I did not know how to do this prior, so we got in Whaea Linda Keogh, who showed us the tikanga of gathering harekeke and stripping to make Muka and dye etc… we all learnt together, see more here… Ākonga making a difference through powerful partnerships.
Continuing on with my daughter, she is back at Hobsonville Point Secondary Year. In terms of Te Reo, while Maurie has ensured that Te Reo is compulsory at our Kura, she has chosen to take the full year option “Nau Mai Haere Mai” with Whaea Leoni, continuing what she started off down the line with Matua and also in a smaller module with Whaea Nadine Malcom and Rebecaa Foster. In addition she has joined the Mana Wahine group and is excited for a couple of weeks time where her old Rototuna Kapa Haka Rōpū is coming up for whakawhanaungatanga and performance. To see some of these faces and connections.
So all of us as educators, in NZ, we have a moral imperative to ensure that we are allowing for world views beyond our own to be explicit in our classes. When I stayed behind at the workshop that was held on where to next after Anne’s Kōrero, teachers talked of being uncomfortable, but you know what, we need to get uncomfortable, we need to be the antithesis to the norm and allow our students to become critically conscious. We should aspire to the critical consciousness that Kura like Kia Aroha have created and can do this in all contexts. While we are not full immersion, we must value culture, language and identity. However, cultural responsiveness is not enough as Anne Milne said. It must be a culturally sustaining pedagogy, hence the definition at the top of this post. Only then can we ensure the empowerment and cultural growth that will enable positive outcomes in our school. When I talk of outcomes, I mean more than academic outcomes, I mean personal and academic achievement. When my girl started school at Hobsonville, Maurie interviewed us and asked Jaimee and I what we wanted for her at the Kura. Jaimee, was excited to be back, to be back to sport, friends and talked about a few subjects. I said “I just want her to be happy, if she is happy the rest will come”. While I am not Māori, I will continue to be the antithesis and hope I can help make a difference for my daughter and all the ākonga that come my way.
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Baltodano, M., Darder A., & Torres, R.D. (2003). The Critical Pedagogy Reader. NewYork: RoutledgeFalmer.
Freire, P. (1972). Pedagogy of the oppressed. London: Sheed and Ward Ltd.