Wayne’s story: Māori students undertaking a Phys Ed unit involving the invention of a game prompted this teacher to gather Māori students from across the cohort of Year 9 students to design an assessment rubric. Providing a comfortable environment in which to facilitate this work led to greater student buy-in, effective learning relationships and rigorous peer assessment.
Comments are provided by a PE teacher, who is also a Te Kotahitanga facilitator, about the importance of 'student voice' and student input into their own learning. This includes comments about:
- utilising student voice in departmental planning
- facilitating learning conversations through co-operative learning strategies
- creating a safe learning environment within which student confidence can be built
- engaging Māori students
- developing peer assessments and extending into units of work planned by students
- understanding the importance of building relationships that are focussed on learning.
"If we utilise what they have to say into our planning we're going to get buy in from them because it's basically what they want to do." (Teacher)
"I think just like in any classroom or learning environment students and especially our Māori students need to feel they're in a comfortable learning environment, that they are safe to say their thoughts, their ideas, rather than feeling whakamā (self conscious) about it..."
"I think, given time, anybody can develop any sort of relationship...but i think it's crucial that the focus of that relationship is their learning." (Teacher)
Things to think about:
Question Focus - Those new to Te Kotahitanga:
- How does providing a culturally responsive learning environment within classrooms promote student engagement and participation?
- In departmental planning within your own school, what importance do you place on student input? What opportunities might student input provide?
- What challenges might arise from planning in this way, and how might you overcome them?
Question Focus - Participants in the Te Kotahitanga Professional Development Programme:
- What links can you make to the Effective Teaching Profile and GEPRISP from what Wayne has shared in this story?
- What might the experiences of Māori students in this class be like, and why do you think this?
- What challenges do you see in planning this way, and how might they be overcome?
- In what ways does Wayne develop relationships with students whilst maintaining the focus on learning?
- What connections do you make between this story and a Culturally Responsive Pedagogy of Relations?
Question Focus - In-school Facilitators and Senior Leadership Team Members:
- What support do you see as necessary from the facilitation team and the SLT for departments in your school to plan and work in this way?
- How might you facilitate the sharing of such pedagogical shifts across departments, as shared in this story, within your Leaders of Learning co-construction meetings?
- What do you see as the connections between this story and the development of ownership of Te Kotahitanga within a school?
Wayne Rangiruna (Te Kotahitanga Facilitator): “If we actually take the time out to listen to what they have to say, if we utilize what they have to say in to our planning, we’re going to get buy in from them because it’s basically what they want to do. All of the classes have developed their teams, and the teams are doing the, the games that they’ve invented. The assessment is all around, um, that teamwork, that, that group situation. Just thought if I can get a hold of a group of students, our Māori students, give them the opportunity to come up with the assessment for the two, term three unit of work, so I asked the learning leaders of each of those classes if, if they could give me the names of two of their Māori students who had the confidence I suppose, to be involved in that sort of set up.
“When I first got hold of their names from their learning leaders, I sent out a message to each of them to, ah, meet me in one of the PE classrooms and it was just an automatic thing that all the boys went to one, one set of tables and all the girls went to another. And when we got into the, the process of, ah, working through this assessment I found the girls just automatic, into it, ideas flowing. They were just really comfortable in that environment, as for the ah, boys, you know it took a bit of time to build them up. It’s about assisting them with where things are hopefully going to go, rather than just throwing them into the deep end of the pool. I needed to be there to give them a bit of guidance, to prompt them you know, ‘How did you think that might go, what’s your ideas on this?’ And with those simple questions it got the discussion flowing and, ah, at times I was actually able to walk away from their group and then actually go and attend to the girls. I think just like in any classroom or learning environment students and especially our Māori students need to feel they’re in a comfortable learning environment, that they are safe to say their thoughts, their ideas rather than feeling whakamā about it. Once they feel that then they’re comfortable with the people that they’re in that environment with, they cut loose, and um, the ideas and the sharing certainly flow. But it’s about providing that comfortable environment where they are able to express themselves, share their ideas.
“All of the learning leaders have mentioned that the assessment for this unit of work has been designed by our Māori students and I suppose the buy in from the students with, within their classes has been greater. Knowing that it’s not just your normal teacher, learning leader, ‘We’re telling you to do this, this is why you’ve got to do with it,’ but in fact, ‘Hey, your peers came up with this idea on how to assess you within this unit.’ This is the first time that we’ve utilized this, possibly the next step is actually planning the whole unit, that whole package, them creating their game, um, their peers coming up with the assessment for the unit of work, and their peers actually putting a grade on their performance is the key thing.
“I think ah, given time anybody can develop any, any sort of relationship um, students with other students, or the learning leader with students, but I think it’s, it’s crucial that the focus of that relationship is their learning. Um, conversation around their learning, interaction around their learning.”