Ka whānau mai te pēpi,
Ka takaia ki te harakeke.
Ka noho te harakeke hei kākahu, hei rongoā,
Hei mea tākaro,
Hei oranga mōna a mate noa ia.
When a child is born,
He is wrapped in the muka cloth made of flax.
The flax provides clothing, medicine,
Toys for play and leisure,
And the means for living and survival.
"Effective pedagogy begins with knowing the student well."
Narrative Assessment: A Guide for Teachers, 2009, page 22
Working towards an inclusive curriculum begins with building a rich knowledge of learners. Effective teachers ask:
- Where does each of my students come from? What do I know about their identity, language, and culture? What can I learn from their whānau?
- What do they already know? How do they make sense of their world?
- What can they already do? What do they love to do?
- How can I understand and respond to their strengths, passions, and interests?
All students are active, capable learners with unique potential. However, students demonstrate competence in a range of ways and progress at different rates. A key role of the teacher is to really get to know their students, so that they can help them to recognise their competencies, demonstrate their strengths, and work towards their aspirations.
The best way to understand a student’s preferred way of learning is to ask them (Causton-Theoharis, 2009) and to include them in planning and assessment processes. This will mean working alongside them to understand what they want to learn and how to make learning accessible for them.
Parents and whānau are an integral part of the school community and want their children welcomed for all that they bring to this community. Building relationships with whānau and recognising the wealth of information that they have about their children will help your school to get to know students and give an insight into their strengths and aspirations.
As well as your own observations, and contributions from whānau, valuable insights into learners’ needs and aspirations will come from regular communication with members of wider teams supporting individuals or groups of students.
Published on: 12 May 2015
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