Te Kotahitanga: Improving Māori students' educational achievement

Te Kotahitanga: Improving Maori Students’Educational Achievement

“In a socially sustainable society….education, creativity and the development of human potential for the whole population is promoted...”

Social sustainability in Govt3, Ministry for the Environment, NZ (www.mfe.govt.nz).


Te Kotahitanga is a collaborative response to improving the learning and achievement of those students not well served by the education system. The project combines in-classroom research with professional development for teachers to improve Māori educational outcomes.

Established in 2001 by the Māori Education Research team at the School of Education, University of Waikato and the Ministry of Education’s Poutama Pounamu Research and Development Centre in Tauranga, the project – which focuses on Year 9 and 10 in schools - is now being rolled out in a phased operation involving thousands of teachers and Māori students.

The research has analysed Māori students’ classroom experiences and identified teacher attitudes and classroom practices that make a difference to Māori students’ achievement, creating an “Effective Teacher Profile” for implementation in the classroom via teacher professional development.

Project manager, Professor Russell Bishop, says an effective teacher develops caring and learning relationships with students through culturally responsive teaching practices.

Not only are Māori students making measurable gains in numeracy and literacy, but gains for Māori and Pasifika students have also been reported across all curriculum areas in NCEA Level 1. Other benefits reported include reduced absenteeism, increased student engagement in the classroom, increased work completion, and an overall improvement in the schooling experience of Māori students.

External funding gratefully acknowledged: Ministry of Education.


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