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A Mana Enhancing Way to Engage Educators with the Common Practice Model

Updated: Jun 9, 2023

by Rebecca Thomas, image by Steve Saville

Pedagogy is a deeply personal asset to a teacher and the Common Practice Model will require kaiako to reflect deeply on their approaches, assessment and instruction to reduce inequities in their classrooms. How can we help teachers to navigate this space in a mana enhancing way, where educators will be receptive and empowered by change?

To help answer this question I would like to use what Peter Stucki refers to in his thesis (Māori Pedagogy, Pedagogical Beliefs and Practices in a Māori Tertiary Institution, 2010,) as Māori Pedagogy, he describes it as being built on ‘relational ontology’.

This means taking the approach that everything is interconnected and context is important; we shouldn’t look at things in isolation. In other words we need to understand where the model was created, it's context and relationship to other changes, and where it links to what we already do in the classroom; we need to unpack its relevance if we want our educators to engage.

The source of the river

Understanding the background and unpacking the foundations of MOE documents is an appropriate place to start. Time spent on this ‘beginning’ will help us gain a deeper understanding. A friend of mine on Friday reminded me how important, especially in te ao Māori, it is for the correct amount of time to be given to the beginning of a journey. For me, hearing Dr. Wayne Nagta’s kōrero around Te Māitaiaho, its whakapapa, that is what helped me to make sense of the refresh, that's what helped me to engage.

So, let’s go back to how the CPM was created, where did it flow from?

In 2022 NZCER wrote a paper called, Developing a Common Practice Model for Literacy and communication and Maths. The purpose of this literature review was to provide some insights for the Common Practice Contributors Group to help them look for common themes between evidence-based effective pedagogical approaches.

The three main theoretical approaches framed in the review as recommended sources for inspiration for the CPM were:

#1 Cognitive Learning Theory: developed by psychologist Jean Piaget. This theory focuses on how people learn, think, and process information. It emphasizes the role of mental processes in understanding and acquiring knowledge.

#2 Social Learning Theory: developed by psychologist Albert Bandura. This theory focuses on how individuals learn through observing and imitating others. It suggests that learning is a social process that occurs through interactions with others.

#3 Universal Design For Learning (UDL): developed by a team of researchers at the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST). It is an educational framework that promotes inclusive and accessible learning environments for all students, including those with diverse learning needs. It focuses on providing multiple means of representation, engagement, and expression.

Three fairly grounded ideas that should support and address inequities.

After having read this however, I felt a distinct lack of attention to including te ao Māori philosophies, principles and approaches regarding pedagogy as a foundation. After all it was te ao Māori that laid the foundations for Te Mātaiaho, why didn’t that follow true to the ‘way’ in which the content is now delivered?

Determined to take more of a ‘Braided Rivers Approach’ (He Awa Whiria, Macfarlane, Macfarlane & Gillon, 2015), Steve and I wanted to encourage our educators to look for connections where Māori and non-Māori streams of knowledge meet, exploring how this model is not only connected to what we already know and do, but to challenge us to grow in our knowledge, our skills, and our dispositions towards it.

This is the reason we have created our new tool, and we will continue to look to te ao Māori for inspiration on the pedagogical learning theories that will help align us all to this model in a mana enhancing way.

Engage your staff - light up their dark!

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