A Professional Development Programme, based on the Effective Teaching Profile, was developed and trialled. In 2004, it was implemented on a large scale in 12 mainstream schools, involving 422 teachers. The programme provides teachers with an initial hui where the stories of Māori students’ experiences of schooling are used to give teachers an opportunity to examine their own ideas about Māori students and how the way they relate to them might impact on their achievement.
Professional development moves from the hui to the classroom with intensive, and ongoing, in class support and feedback. Additional support is offered outside the classroom for cross-curricular, collaborative analysis of patterns of student learning, leading to plans and strategies for improving Māori student participation and achievement.
Central to this concern is that the attempt to reduce disparities does not just focus on bringing low achieving students up to the current levels of their peers by traditional means; rather all students’ achievement level needs to raise in order that educators can create learning contexts that will provide students with those tools that are vital for the future, the tools of creative, critically reflective thinking citizens. In order to do so, we need to immerse students in power-sharing relationships with their peers and their teachers from an early age. In short, the principle of self-determination within non-dominating relations of interdependence should be relevant to all involved in classroom interactions (including teachers of course), and should raise educational achievement of all involved, whilst reducing disparities.
The professional development programme was implemented in the schools through the research and professional development team, some of whom were regional coordinators, providing in-school support for the in-school facilitation teams. These teams in turn provided professional development for the project teachers.