Waikato researchers recognised for transformative approach to teaching Māori students

4 February 2021

Mere Berryman

A University of Waikato researcher and her team have been recognised for more than 20 years of work helping transform education for Māori students, their research feeding into a new Ministry of Education feature.

The work of Professor Mere Berryman and her team at the University’s Poutama Pounamu Education Research and Development Centre, has fed into the new publication that helps explain how to drive better outcomes for Māori ākonga (students).

The best evidence feature called Rongohia te Hau highlights the need for system change and includes evidence of what does and does not work when evaluated by effects on Māori ākonga.

Rongohia te Hau uses seven online videos to explain the learning journey of students from Te Kāhui Ako o Te Puke, in Te Puke, and Bethlehem College Chapman, in Rotorua, working with Poutama Pounamu experts.

It also includes a presentation by Professor Berryman and a message to educators about taking a Tiriti o Waitangi partnership approach to transformative education that benefits Māori and non-Māori.

Ākonga involved in Rongohia te Hau said; ‘It’s like the opposite of racism in this school’ and ‘Ko tātou ngā rangatira āpōpō’, (we are the leaders of tomorrow).

Three school principals who have won the Prime Minister’s Educational Excellence Awards also appear in the videos to explain the changes.

Professor Berryman says the work of Poutama Pounamu is testament to having learned iteratively through research and development since 1995, about what works for Māori if Māori are to succeed as Māori.

“We have learned that working with whānau and teachers in relational, responsive and dialogic ways aimed at improving the potential of Māori learners, also has a positive influence when applied and personalised to all students,” says Professor Berryman.

“Developing effective contexts for learning requires moving beyond the pedagogical rhetoric to understand the foundations of our society and implications for our collective futures. Rongohia te Hau is another step in that direction.”

Rongohia te Hau includes the following modules:

  • Using learner, whānau and teacher feedback
  • Different perspectives inform action
  • Co-constructing a continuum of effective teaching practice
  • Collecting evidence of pedagogy
  • The learning is in the conversation
  • Impacting Māori success
  • Racism: Taking those blinkers off

The new best evidence feature can now be accessed here.

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