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Creating an inclusive learning environment

Students are more likely to achieve in media studies when they see their concerns and ideas taken seriously and their cultures valued in subject content and learning contexts.

By recognising that students have a cultural identity and inviting them to share their cultural knowledge in learning contexts, teachers promote akō, a teaching–learning relationship in which the teacher also learns from the student.

For the teacher, akō involves 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. 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 (Culture Counts: Changing Power Relations in Education, 1999).

Tino rangatiratanga – 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.

Whānau – the development of connections with the community to support learning.

Kaupapa – acknowledging and valuing the language and culture in the classroom and chosen contexts.

Some suggested contexts and approaches

  • Make a promotional webpage for a school or community event or group that used elements of effective websites. The subject might be a profile of the school’s kapa haka performance or students’ contribition to the Diwali festival celebrations.
  • Ngā toi (the Arts): Use multi-media techniques (sound, music, imagery) to present an idea important to your family/whānau.
  • Collaborate with a local marae on an advertising or film project.
  • Invite individual (or groups of) students to choose a context that has particular cultural significance for them.
  • Explore the impact of the way the media presents different sides of a local or topical issue through a hui with kaumatua from the local marae.
  • Produce a case study of a Māori-owned media communications venture, such as Māori TV.
  • Tikanga-ā-Iwi: how are the different issues related to Waitangi Day, or another important event in the Māori calendar, presented by the media?
  • The use of Te Reo on TV: how has it changed over time?
  • Magazines: how has the print industry responded to the needs of Maori or Pasifika readers?
  • Films produced in New Zealand that represent different cultures, such as Boy or Sione’s Wedding: are there similarities in the way New Zealand film stories are told?
  • Exploring waiora (health) and advertising: how effective is public health advertising?
  • Explore how cultural tikanga or iconography, such as the haka, has been used in a range of media texts, and consider the impact on Māori culture.
  • Produce a short film that would entertain a specifically targeted audience or culture.
  • Produce a case study of media genres that are typical to cultures and places to which one or more of your students belong; for example, Bollywood movies (India), or the online representation of nga toi (Māori).
  • Explore the way different cultures are represented in news media, and film, and consider how this informs our understanding of different peoples.
  • Consider students’ understanding of cultural stereotypes in New Zealand, and the way the media affects these. For example, by using a variety of New Zealand film extracts, before and after 1994's Once Were Warriors, to lead a discussion and critical analysis of stereotypes/representation of Māori.
  • Meet with family and whānau to outline programmes of work and discuss ways in which they might support students in their learning.
  • Upskill teachers in terms of pronunciation and familiarity with the concepts that underlie Māoritanga.

For more information of how to create a inclusive classroom environment, refer to the community mechanism at work in media studies.

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Last updated June 14, 2018