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Creating culturally responsive learning environments and contexts for all akonga

Teachers of the arts create culturally responsive learning environments and contexts for all students if they recognise, reflect and validate their history, cultures, and worldviews in the classroom curriculum.

The culturally responsive pedagogies used in this guide were developed by the arts writing team and advisors from the University of Auckland to provide teachers with strategies to engage all students in learning.

They are about valuing diversity as an asset, and validating culture, language and identity as essential to learning success.

They recognise several factors informing education and influencing educational outcomes. These are:

  • commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi as a document that protects Māori learners' rights to achieve true citizenship through gaining a range of skills and knowledge, as well as protecting te reo Māori as a taonga
  • the responsibility of the education system to maximise the potential of all learners, lift their achievement, and ensure every young person has the skills and qualifications to contribute to their and New Zealand's future.

The ethnic mosaic of New Zealand’s population is changing, with the Māori, Pacific and Asian ethnic groups making up a growing proportion of the population. Projections show that New Zealand will have greater ethnic diversity in the future.

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This guide makes reference to Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners in the pedagogies section. This is to provide coherence and reinforce the alignment between the inherent intent or purpose of the cultural competencies and the culturally responsive pedagogies, while still recognising that the pedagogies for the arts were developed for the purpose of serving all students.

Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners (Ministry of Education, 2011) describes several cultural competencies based on knowledge, respect, and collaborative approaches to Māori students, their whānau, and iwi that are integral to creating culturally responsive learning environments and contexts.

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Culturally responsive pedagogies

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Last updated May 28, 2018



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