Saturday, 10 May 2014

Tapu: Part Three

- Why it is inappropriate to just bust out a haka because you think you feel the wehi and don't understand the significance behind what you're doing

Learning Intention:
- Being Proud as Maori

This is something we want our Maori students to be. We want them to be achieving as Maori. This is a difficult concept to grasp and in fact the only time I understood it in full was when I taught a beautiful bunch of bi-lingual students in my first year teaching.

In NZ there is a significant amount of data which suggests that Maori and Pacific Island students are not achieving as highly as 'the rest'. To combat this issue there are many style and modes of approach: Te Kotahitanga, He Kakano, Ka Hikitia and of course Kohanga Reo (which I will talk about briefly later).
Other ways in schools is to awhi and support our students to achieve to their very best by teaching in relevant ways and making the teaching and learning valuable, achievable, with high expectations, clear boundaries and creating relationships with your students so you know who they are as people... not just a mere student soaking up your info for their sponge brain. That relationship goes two ways of course.. you need to give to get aye. Share who you are.

Am now rethinking... that Te Kotahitanga post will come sooner than later after all....

Anyway! Back to my bi-lingual class. After a school assembly the Maori and PI kids were asked to stay behind. I was waiting patiently for them in class because my friend, and also my TK observer was patiently waiting to observe the teaching and learning in that lesson. Eventually they came rushing over and the first thing out of one of my girls' mouths was, "Whaea, they were being racist as." I asked why and found out that they'd just had a presentation whereby they found out maori and PI were low academic achievers.. brown brother. (Sorry - spoken word poem by Joshua Iosefa... check it out... here)

Joshua Iosefa's Inspiring Speech - Brown Brother:

So... the lesson I'd planned beautifully for my ob quickly got thrown out of the window and we talked about what bothered them about the presentation and more to the point what stopped them achieving as Maori and then what stopped them from achieving as individuals. The evidence continues to sadden me and I will find the docs and post it to share.

They knew that in their heads they didn't feel 'good enough'. That hearing from other teachers that they would never be good at (insert skill or subject here) because they were maori. Because they were tutu's. Because this... because that.

They knew as well the impact they were having on themselves. Why they were stopping themselves from achieving.

Needless to say I got high marks for that lesson from a Te Kotahitanga point of view.

Somehow what I had managed to do was empower a room full of 14 and 15 year olds to help them feel able to achieve as maori because they then knew what was holding them back. They created goals and I created an entire unit around those kids with spoken word poetry, maori short stories and the Freedom Writers film study.. most of which I continue to teach now.

Needless to say, the haka they did for me when the English semester was over was breathtaking and I didnt have the ability to do one back for them because I was frozen. I felt their aroha, their wehi and ihi and their appreciation for what I had done for them that year. I cried. Someone video'd it. I assume someone in the crowd of 80 or so standing behind me watching my kids go hard in the carpark at interval for me also has a copy.

Achieving as Maori to me, simply means having the honour to let them BE who they are. And loving them for it. Not putting them down every five seconds or telling them off for them wanting to know WHY something is the way it is. Maori kids have a strong affinity with the world around them and as such they need to be given direction, yes, but also a certain freedom and taught to be intrinsically motivated to learn and question that world in which they live.

Let them be.

Te Kahu Rolleston at 'BE' Poetry event - Totes Māori:

Because for much too long as I said in an earlier post.. there is an entrenched lack of pride and honour in who we are. Yes we're proud doing the haka, proud wearing a ta moko, proud when in a kapa haka roopu. Proud when the All Blacks or the Silver Ferns are winning or proud when we win the Americas Cup.

But for too long we haven't been allowed to be proud of who we are.. and a lot of who we are is tied up with our culture and particularly with our language.

Ka haere mai koe.. Keep coming along.. Next:
Te Reo Maori Resurgence of the 1980s and Brief Anecdotal History OR Why we should all be encouraged to learn Te Reo Maori as teachers of Maori students and as New Zealanders

Nga Whakatauki o tenei pou - Proverbs for this Post

Ma whero ma pango ka oti ai te mahi
With red and black the work will be complete

This refers to co-operation where if everyone does their part, the work will be complete. The colours refer to to the traditional kowhaiwhai patterns on the inside of the meeting houses

Ta te tamariki tana mahi wawahi tahā
It is the job of the children to smash the calabash

This proverb is similar to, boys will be boys. The calabash was a valuable tool for the transportation of food and water and was also used to heat water. A child who is clumsy and of a playful nature has no idea of the importance of this tool and through neglect may accidentally break it. This is not the fault of the child and they should not be punished for what is their nature. Here the calabash is a metaphor for rules and regulations, which from time to time children and adolescents may over step in order for them to develop themselves.

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