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Mannaakitanga is about values of integrity, trust, sincerity and equity. Through manaakitanga, the teacher and fellow students recognise and affirm the identity of each student in open and trusting relationships.

Within the arts learning spaces, all cultures and experiences are valued, acknowledged, represented, and celebrated. Building trust between students and between students and teacher is essential to empowering all students to reach their potential.

Example: Music – sound arts

Music – Sound Arts connects new learning with prior learning and experience. What we already know can help us to understand something we do not know and to set a direction toward something new.

Music teachers are able to discover the unique nature of individual students and use this to enrich the teaching and learning experience for the entire community of learners by:

  • getting to know the students and letting them know us, for example, by sharing and discussing music we find inspirational
  • discovering the connections and interests, both known and unknown, that exist between the members in the learning space
  • showing the capacity to care and belong, for example, by connecting with the community as a member of an informal music group (choirs, kapa haka groups, orchestras, bands) or by connecting with the world community through large-scale technological projects such as Eric Whitacre’s Virtual Choir 2.0.

Music is a uniting language through which learners can discover common ground and learn the tikanga of different cultures and music, times, histories, peoples, and places.

Teachers support this process by recognising the musical worlds valued by their students, including cultural, popular, and classical. This informs the teaching and enables the students to make connections and contributions, which are validated and valued.

Working together, teacher and students make the classroom tikanga and protocols for music making.

Example: Visual arts

Base the visual arts programme on the students’ personal, local, and national history and/or environment to connect familiar contexts with new ideas, knowledge, and art-making practices.

Source knowledge from local cultural groups, including Māori and Pasifika groups and from other cultural groups that students belong to.

Introduce students to art works made in different places at different times, and discuss the context within which, and for which, they were made.

Discuss historical western art movements and non-western practices, and contemporary (local and global) ways of working.

Differentiate thematic approaches and learning tasks. For example, when selecting the theme for their personal programme of study, learners might brainstorm and select their own interpretation of a broad theme, such as “Reflections of Ourselves”, based on their personal, heritage-based, cultural, national, global or issues-based interests and ideas.

This process could be supported by inviting different members of the local community to share their views on the position and purpose of the arts in their lives and the different contexts in which the arts are valued.

Work in small groups with selected imagery (for example, portraits or still life, images of transience, wood carvings, etchings, metal sculptures, art works made with digital technology) to complete a sorting task.

Match each art work to cards with information about the artist, date of production, media, and context. Once the sorting task is done, place the imagery on a time-line in the classroom.

Connect the featured times and places to students’ experiences – places they’ve been, times during which their immediate family lived, and so on.

This exercise could become the basis for discussing the constantly changing nature of art making.

Example: Dance

Get to know your students and allow them know you.

Compare and discuss the musical styles you enjoy dancing to or the dance genres and styles you and they have most experience in or most enjoy watching.

Provide opportunities for students to mix with other students and other teachers through both formal and informal co-curricular dance groups such as stage challenge, socials, partner dances (to prepare for the annual school ball perhaps), hip hop dance groups, or a group suggested or run by the students themselves.

Co-construct the behaviour standards and expectations of the learning space with the students. Find out what values they hold in high esteem and have them suggest ways in which the qualities they value can be demonstrated in the classroom.

Example: Drama

Get to know your students as individuals. Find out what they are involved with outside the drama classroom, what’s important to them, and what they value most at school. Take an active interest in what’s happening in their world.

Allow students time to share their anxieties and have the students provide the suggestions for how to overcome such anxieties.

Have the students discuss their interpretation of a moment in a live performance they have seen together. Suggest they begin by sharing differing views, and then group students according to their interpretations so that those with similar views can help to add detail and depth to each other’s point of view.

Enhance the culture of learning as a class by inviting whānau into your classroom for performance presentations throughout the year.

Get to know students in a slightly less formal setting by organising some co-curricular groups for drama students and their non-drama friends such as a theatre sports team, a student-led play, a Shakespeare festival, or even a debating team.

Example: Art history

Foster interest in contemporary or historical art by asking students to create their top-five or top-ten list of artists and art works in their workbooks.

Ask them to update the lists regularly, keep a record of their changes, and present their top favourite to the class with reasons why the work is so important to them.

Make a space on the wall where students can pin art works they like and label them with their name and that of the artist/art work.

On the wall, have a map of New Zealand marking iwi/hapū areas and ask students to locate where they have family, where they were born, and where they have lived or visited. Research and pin up examples of Māori taonga from each area.

As the teacher, acknowledge where there are gaps in your art knowledge, but at the same time, share the breadth and depth of your subject knowledge.

Ask 'What if?' questions at the beginning or end of the lesson.

  • What if you could meet with or tweet any artist? What you would you like to know, ask, or say?
  • Ask questions that encourage evaluation, for example: Who is the most revolutionary, controversial, famous, or important of artists? What are the big art movements or ideas in art?

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Last updated November 24, 2011