Indigenous positioning within professional contexts

This is the fifth blog post requirement in my Applied Practice in Context paper, part of my Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Practice

The requirement was:
View the required videos and respond by writing in your portfolio (blog) the points of divergence and the points of convergence between Aotearoa New Zealand and your own context. Please add visuals, external links, diagrams or photos to enhance your response.

I work in a school that is made up mainly of families who identify themselves as Maori or Pacific peoples.  Although I have worked in the same school for a number of years I don't think my pedagogy has changed enough to call it culturally responsive.

Watching the information that was given to us was interesting and really got me thinking about what else I could be doing to engage with our learners.  I believe my main job as a teacher,  is to help them to grow to love learning.  I believe I need to work with our students to help them and challenge them to reach their potential in learning.  I have always put relationships with students as a priority, however as Russell Bishop explains it's more than that - "It's about caring for people, caring that they learn, creating learning relationships that ensures they are able to learn  - Culturally responsive pedagogy" (Bishop, 2009)

I found Russell's video interesting especially when he referred to low Maori achievement in education as a debt.  I agree with Russell when he talks about the comparison between paying for education reform versus paying for someone to be kept in prison.   The need for educators to be supported and provided with high quality professional development also resonated with me.   Russell also mentioned how Maori learners are capable of making it to gaining a PhD and the increase in Maori people with a PhD over the last 10 - 15 years.  I wonder if we're doing enough to encourage this and also find it interesting that a PhD was mentioned at all.  In our world is this the most important qualification to have?

It would be interesting to engage in something similar to this course - after I've finished my postgraduate study as I think it would help to further my understanding of maori customs and culture and also affirm some of what I already know.  I also found information here about the potential for professional development in culturally responsive pedagogy.

I find the debate around one law for all interesting.  The Treaty of Waitangi is an important historical document and there were wrongs committed against Maori people by the crown or government at the time it was signed and since then.  However I think the issues associated with low Maori achievement aren't necessarily going to be solved by compensating Maori for those wrongs and perhaps the debate around how our education system caters for all learners - or doesn't in many cases needs more coverage than treaty claims.

The videos about the basics around what the Treaty of Waitangi is and what the process is for Treaty claims were informative.  Most of the information in the videos I was already aware of, I wonder how many of our students are aware of this.

As a teacher I'm required to:

3. demonstrate commitment to bicultural partnership in Aotearoa New Zealand

       i. demonstrate respect for the heritages, languages and cultures of both partners to the Treaty of             Waitangi

I don't think as a teacher I've been given ongoing resources, professional development and support to do this in a meaningful way.  As a country I wonder if we actually know and understand what this looks like, feels like and sounds like.