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Creating an inclusive learning environment

An inclusive mathematics and statistics learning environment recognises that students have a cultural identity and invites them to share their cultural knowledge in learning contexts.

In an inclusive learning environment the teacher is:

  • promoting ako – a teaching-learning relationship in which the teacher also learns from the student
  • taking students concerns and ideas seriously and valuing their culture in subject content and learning contexts
  • acknowledging, respecting, and valuing who students are and where they come from and, through deliberate and reflective practice, building on what they bring with them to the learning setting
  • recognising that people of all cultures have skills, knowledge, and qualities that can be built on.

Principles of a kaupapa Māori pedagogy

New Zealand’s foundations are bicultural, so tikanga Māori should be at the centre of learning and all teaching should be informed by the kaupapa Māori principles identified by Russell Bishop and Ted Glynn:

  • Tino rangitiratanga – the right to determine one’s own destiny. Parents and children are involved in decision-making processes.
  • Taonga tuku iho – the treasures from the ancestors, providing a set of principles by which to live our lives.
  • Ako – a mutual teaching and learning relationship in which the educator is also learning from the student.
  • Kia piki ake i ngā raruraru o te kāinga – reaches into Māori homes and brings parents and families into the activities of the school.
  • Whanau – the development of connections with the community to support learning.
  • Kaupapa – acknowledging and valuing the language and culture in the classroom and chosen contexts.

Specific activities

Further information

  • Averill, R., How to get the best out of Maori and Pasifika students?
  • Success for boys
  • Ka Hikitia
  • Pasifika Education Plan
  • Making language and learning work 1: Integrating language and learning in secondary maths and science. A DVD resource with related facilitation and teaching resources.
  • Hunter, R. (2008). Facilitating communities of mathematical inquiry (PDF 187KB). In M. Goos, R. Brown, & K. Makar (Eds.), Navigating currents and charting directions (Proceedings of the 31st annual conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia). Brisbane: MERGA.
  • Hunter, R. (2007). Teachers developing communities of mathematical inquiry. Albany, Massey University: Unpublished doctoral thesis.
  • Bishop, R., & Berryman, M. (2006). Culture speaks: Cultural relationships and classroom learning. Wellington: Huia Publishers.
  • Ferguson, P. B., Gorinski, R. T., Samu, T. W., & Mara, D. (2008). Literature review on the experiences of Pasifika learners in the classroom. Wellington: Ministry of Education.
  • Averill, R., Taiwhati, M., & Te Maro, P. (2010). Knowing and understanding each other’s cultures. In R. Averill & R. Harvey (Eds.), Teaching primary school mathematics and statistics: Evidence based practice (pp. 167-180). Wellington: NZCER Press.
  • Anderson, D., Averill, R., Te Maro, P., Taiwhati, M., & Higgins, J. (2010). Knowing each other as learners: Māori students learning mathematics. In V. Green & S. Cherrington, (Eds.), Delving into diversity: An international exploration of issues of diversity in education (pp. 45-56). New York: Nova Science Publishers.
  • Averill, R. (2009). 'Enjoy your job and enjoy our company': Students talk about mathematics teachers. In R. Averill, R. Harvey & D. Smith (Eds.), Teaching secondary school mathematics and statistics: Evidence based practice, Volume 1 (pp. 53-66). Wellington: NZCER Press.
  • Averill, R., Te Maro, P., Taiwhati, M., & Anderson, D. (2009). Culturally responsive mathematics teaching: A bicultural model. In R. Averill & R. Harvey (Eds.), Teaching secondary school mathematics and statistics: Evidence based practice, Volume 2 (pp. 27-46). Wellington: NZCER Press.
  • Te Maro, P., Higgins, J., & Averill, R. (2008). Creating strong achievement gains for Māori children in mathematics English-medium classrooms (PDF 106 KB). Findings from the New Zealand Numeracy Development Projects Numeracy Research Compendium (pp. 37-49). Wellington: Ministry of Education.

Last updated June 7, 2018



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