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Natalie’s story – One teacher’s journey

Duration: 03:13

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Key Content:

Comments are provided by a PE teacher, students and a Te Kotahitanga in-school facilitator around the establishment of caring and respect within relationships. These include comments about:

  • sharing lesson objectives with students
  • collaboration and negotiation within lesson planning
  • building in time to assess needs of learners within each lesson
  • acknowledgement of prior learning
  • learning as fun.

“The teacher is in control of the situation... control of what’s happening for their kids’ learning, but the kids’ voices are there all the time.” (Facilitator)

“ ...she’s just fun to be with...”. (Student)

“The kids carry on whether the teacher is there or not because they know exactly what they are supposed to be doing.” (Facilitator)

“I’ve worked hard this year to earn it [respect] ... showing that I care, that they can trust me. I’ve still got my expectations and rules but I’m willing to have fun, to negotiate...”. (Teacher)

“It’s mutual. It’s got to come both ways. That respect.” (Teacher)

Things to think about:

Question focus – Those new to Te Kotahitanga:
  • What questions would you like to ask Natalie?
  • How would you describe "relationships of caring and respect"? To what extent do you have a clear understanding of how your students would describe a "relationships of caring and respect"? What are the implications if these two sets of views are different?
  • What connections do you see between a "mutual respect" and engagement with learning?
Question focus – Participants in the Te Kotahitanga Professional Development Programme:
  • In what ways do you foster relationships of caring and respect within your classroom?
  • In what ways do/might you collaborate with your students in the planning of your lessons?
  • What do you see as the links between collaboration, negotiation and learning as fun?
Question focus – In-school facilitators and senior leadership team members:
  • How might you respond to comments that the idea of learning as fun, evident in this story, is due to the nature of the subject being taught?
  • Natalie talks about the need for mutual respect. In what ways do/might you work to develop this in relationships outside of the classroom context?
  • "Literally rangatiratanga means chiefly control, however, increasingly it has taken on its figurative meaning of self-determination ... the right to determine one’s own destiny, to define what that destiny will be and to define and pursue means of attaining that destiny in relation to others ..." (Bishop, Berryman, Cavanagh & Teddy. 2007. p.10) In what ways was the self-determination of students evident in this story? To what extent is the "self-determination" of students evident in your school’s classrooms? Outside of the classroom?


Bishop, R., Berryman, M., Cavanagh, T., & Teddy. L. (2007). Te Kotahitanga Phase 3 Whānaungatanga: Establishing a Culturally Responsive Pedagogy of Relations in Mainstream Secondary School Classrooms. Wellington, New Zealand: Ministry of Education.



Natalie Maurice (Teacher): “My first year on Te Kotahitanga, and so far it’s been really successful. I’ve really enjoyed it and learnt lots. I've learnt a lot about myself and my students. So it’s been really, for me personally, successful.

“When they come to class they’re told what the objective is of the lesson. Um, they design their own warm up so they get straight into it and they are encouraging each other to participate.

“So I just sit back and watch and I can identify who’s a little bit low today, who's high, who just wants to be the leader, and then we come in together and we talk about what the lesson is about, negotiate how long it’s going to take, what we want to get through, and whether they want to put it all together in a game at the end.”

Claire Ravenscroft (Facilitator): “What's good that is going on here is that the teacher is, um, collaborating with the students about their learning.”

Natalie: “When the facilitator observes, um, at the end of a lesson or feedback, I can see how things are working, which you don't really notice when you're in a lesson cause you just get involved. So it’s showing me, you know, how I'm forming relationships and how I'm targeting certain students.”

Claire: “The teacher’s in control of the situation absolutely, and in control of what’s happening for their kids’ learning. But the kids’ voice is up here all the time. ‘What are you going to do now, how much time do you need, um, what do you remember from yesterday?’ I've noticed all that prior learning has been acknowledged. All right, expectations set, right, feed forward about how to get there.”

Student: “She is just one of, all of our best teachers I'm guessing. She's just fun to be with and she always joins in the games.”

Claire: “Up till now 100% engagement from the students. The kids carry on whether the teacher is there or not because they know exactly what it is they are supposed to be doing.”

Students: “Na, yea, she's cool.”

“Really friendly.”

“She like gets the most respect out of most of, well my teachers anyway.”

Natalie: “I've worked hard this year to earn it off the girls. And I give it to them, treating them like adults, showing that I care, and that they can trust me. You know, I've still got my expectations and rules, but, um, I'm willing to have fun, um, negotiate stuff, but there’s that just that little, I don't know, bring a little bit of myself in a little bit, open up a bit more and they seem to do it as well. Like it’s mutual you know, it’s both, it’s got to come both ways, that respect.”


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