1 results for Anderson, Diana

  • Harakeke: Enhancing Māori Student Engagement and Achievement in a Mainstream Primary School

    Anderson, Diana (2009)

    Masters thesis
    University of Waikato

    Ministry of Education research indicates that the inclusion of culture and te reo Māori in teaching can help improve Māori student education. If students can find the links between what is being taught and the relevance to their own lives then information will be easier to retain. Research has also shown that environmental education provides relevant learning that can connect students to their world. Māori indigenous knowledge (IK) and environmental education (EE) share many commonalities. One such similarity is the relationship between tangata (people) and nature. While the sometimes destructive nature of this relationship has lead to global environmental issues, this study explores the combination of IK and EE to enhance Māori student engagement and achievement in a mainstream primary school. An intervention unit based on harakeke was designed delivered in a Year 5/6 boys' only class in a suburban mainstream primary school, over a 10 week period. The environmental and socio-cultural significance of harakeke enabled a range of kaupapa (themes) to be included in the unit. This included; eeling and how to make and use a hinaki (eel/fish trap), karakia (prayer) and the relevance when harvesting kai (food) and resources. Each kaupapa also provided the opportunity for students to increase their te reo Māori vocabulary, with the introduction of kaupapa specific words. The Māori kaupapa also enabled the students to view EE from a Māori perspective, including the introduction of rahui - a form of conservation. The findings indicated that the incorporation of a Māori kaupapa strengthened student engagement, improved student use of te reo Māori, improved the selfesteem and confidence for some students, increased students' awareness of harakeke and the value and versatility of the plant, and increased their awareness from a Māori perspective on sustainable harvesting. Bringing Māori kaupapa into the classroom allowed the classroom teacher, who was Māori, the opportunity to share her own lived experiences of IK, as these are passed down from generation to generation, and people are born into them. The Page | iii familiarity of whanau offered the teacher the opportunity to bring this concept into the classroom and teach values that could flow into all curriculum areas while strengthening relationships between the teacher and student, student and student and teacher and student whanau. This study has shown that both IK and EE, while each complex in their own right, have the ability to provide a holistic curriculum approach that can lead to engagement and achievement by Māori students in a mainstream school.

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