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Student interviews

From the student interviews we learned that when Māori students have good relationships with their teachers, they are able to thrive at school.

Good relationships are based on teachers embracing all aspects of the Effective Teaching Profile (ETP), including caring for Māori students:

  • as culturally-located individuals
  • performance and using a wide range of classroom interactions, strategies and outcome indicators to inform practice.

These developing relationships and interactions were captured by the use of the observation tool1 & 2.

The teachers’ interviews indicated effective Te Kotahitanga teachers have undergone a philosophical shift in the way they think about teaching and learning. The essential threads in this new approach to teaching, termed a Culturally Responsive Pedagogy of Relations, are:

  • anti-deficit thinking
  • agentic positioning
  • the six demonstrable elements of the ETP. 

This approach depends on:

  • a commitment by teachers to build caring and learning relationships and interactions with Māori students
  • teachers strongly believing Māori students can improve their achievement
  • students being able to take responsibility for their learning and performance.


  1. Berryman, M. & Bishop, R. (2011). The Te Kotahitanga Observation Tool: Development, use, reliability and validity. Waikato Journal of Education, 16(3), 81-94.

  2. To access the Te Kotahitanga project Web-based observation tool (now archived) – you were required to log in.

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