We Make the Road by Walking
The teacher is of course an artist, but being an artist does not mean that he or she can make the profile, can shape the students. What the educator does in teaching is to make it possible for the students to become themselves.” Paulo Freire, We Make the Road by Walking: Conversations on Education and Social Change
As the school holidays come to a close, whānau across Te Waipounamu are being reminded of the challenge every teacher has to make a difference in the lives of our tamariki.
In Te Pūtahitanga, we get excited by the liberation of learning that we see come through whānau being actively involved in the systems and strategies that are used to help their children make sense of their schooling. We are keen to look at the ‘trigger points’ that whānau turn to, to assess whether their schools, their kura, their kōhanga, their colleges are fulfilling their aspirations for the education of their children.
In Ōtautahi we have invested in an initiative called Poipoia, with Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o te Whānau Tahi. Poipoia – to nurture, to protect, to support – is at its simplest about empowering whānau to talk with their children about their learning, in te reo Māori. The inspiration came from whānau – the kura asked them what they wanted the kura to pursue to contribute to the educational achievement of their tamariki. The solutions – initiated by whānau, for whānau – were simple: learning support for parents of Māori speaking children outside of school hours so that the education at kura could truly be a whole-of-whānau experience.
There’s a school of thought that says about learning: "Tell me and I'll forget. Show me and I may not remember. But involve me and I'll understand. That’s what Maataa Waka Trust ki te Tau ihu are doing in Blenheim with Tiramarama Mai. Tiramarama Mai is an innovative alternative education programme for rangatahi. The concept is to help our brightest stars to shine, by supporting them to reach their potential, regain their sense of self-determination and contribute positively to their whānau, hapū, iwi and wider community.
Why is it such a big deal?
Well, apart from the obvious that surely we all want the best that the world can offer our young people, the Auditor General has also told us it matters to the nation as a whole to get it right for tamariki Māori in schools, first time around.
“Māori educational success is important for New Zealand. By 2030, about one third of our students and therefore one third of our future workforce will be Māori. For Māori students to succeed and for our country’s prosperity, the education system must perform well for Māori”.
Te Pūtahitanga is thinking hard about what we can do, not just to build on the success of the initiatives we are involved in, but also to help stimulate those conversations we all need to have about learning, education and schooling – hoping that there’s a positive relationship between the three! In Christchurch and Blenheim we’ve hosted workshops called Count me in – that’s a project to help Māori and Pasifika rangatahi and youth aged 16 to 18 years who have left school without NCEA Level 2 or equivalent qualifications.
Next week Te Pūtahitanga is proud to bring Count Me in further South, to:
- Invercargill on Wednesday 14th (Tomairangi Marae, 54 Eyre Street, Invercargill; from 9am-3.30pm)
- Dunedin on Thursday 15th (Corstophine Community Centre, Lockerbie Street, Dunedin; from 9am-3.30pm).
If you want to know more about the workshops, email Count Me in
And just to end on a note of celebration, September 2015 marked the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Ngā Whakataetae mo Ngā Manu Kōrero o Ngā Kura Tuarua (Ngā Manu Korero). Ngā Manu Kōrero was established in 1965 to encourage the eloquent use of the English language by Maori secondary school students; and all students in te reo.
Over the half century there have been just four winners of the various awards from Te Waipounamu:
- 1983 Martin Simeon, Aranui High School: Rawhiti Ihaka Award (Junior Maori)
- 1988 Christine Ward; Aranui High School – Pei te Hurinui Jones (Senior Maori)
- 1999 Sarah Thornley; Marlborough Girls College; Sir Turi Carroll (Junior English)
- 2012 Shayla Fiaui, Papanui High School, Sir Turi Carroll
This year Thomas Aerepo-Morgan, Te Wharekura o Arowhenua extended this list of winners, in taking out the Best impromptu award for Senior Māori.
Ngā Manu Korero is a fabulous platform for Maori leadership and succession planning as our rangatahi take to the stage with challenges such as “light a fire in the heart of the world”; “Dream it, believe it, achieve it”; “listen and learn from the stories of our ancestors” or “The power of belonging”. Sounds pretty much like the manifesto for Whānau Ora!
Finally, for all those of you in Ōtautahi who have spent the last six months wondering what to do with their time post-Matatini, you may find the answers next weekend, Saturday 17 October at the Aurora Centre (Burnside High School) at the bi-annual regional secondary schools’ Kapa Haka competition for Waitaha!
Aue! Aue! Aue Ha!