Te Kete Ipurangi Navigation:

Te Kete Ipurangi

Te Kete Ipurangi user options:

Senior Secondary navigation


You are here:

The connection mechanism

Connection involves making authentic connections to students’ lives, for example, by:

  • relating subject matter and learning contexts to the students’ own cultural backgrounds
  • encouraging students to draw on their own work, consumer, and life experiences.

Teachers can help their students link existing knowledge with business practice by bringing in business people from the community. Ask family and whānau to contribute by sharing their own business-related experiences with students. Invite them along as guest speakers, or arrange for students to visit their workplaces.

Research (for example, as cited Robinson, V. et al, 2009, Educational Leadership and Student Outcomes: What Matters and Why: Best Evidence Synthesis [BES], chapter 7) demonstrates that student achievement is enhanced when schools and community engage together with an educational focus.

The selection of suitable contexts can make a big difference in terms of student engagement and outcomes. Students are more likely to achieve when they see themselves and their culture positively reflected in subject matter and learning contexts.

For example, the opportunity to investigate a business that has been developed as a result of a successful Waitangi tribunal claim may encourage Māori students to link their existing knowledge and interests to what they are learning about business practice.

Teachers can also highlight how skills and qualities valued in Māori culture are relevant in business situations. These include whanaungatanga (relationships: in this context, building respectful relationships), kaitiakitanga (guardianship: in this context, guardianship of a business and its environment), and mana (prestige: in this context, credibility in a business or industry).

Awareness of the relevance of cultural identity to learning has its greatest positive impact when the teacher directly, deliberately, and appropriately shapes teaching practices and learning experiences for specific students (Alton-Lee, A. (2003). Quality Teaching for Diverse Students in Schooling: Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration [BES]. Wellington: Ministry of Education).

Teachers can draw on a range of role models and case studies from the Māori world: ancestral, communal, and modern. The University of Auckland’s GYME programme (Growing Young Māori Entrepreneurs) uses Maui’s entrepreneurial skills and qualities as one of its case studies.

Encouraging students to bring their cultural identity to the learning context demonstrates  ako in that it involves acknowledging, respecting, and valuing who students are and where they come from, and building on what they bring with them to the learning.

See also:

 < Back to pedagogy

  • The concept of  ako describes a teaching and learning relationship in which the educator is also learning from the student and the educators’ practices are informed by the latest research and are both deliberate and reflective. Ministry of Education (2008). Ka Hikitia–Managing for Success: The Māori Education Strategy 20082012. Wellington: The Ministry of Education.

Last updated August 27, 2014