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Opportunities for Māori student success at Chisnallwood Intermediate School


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Digital story: Chisnallwood Intermediate School

As part of their school review and implementation of the New Zealand Curriculum, the Chisnallwood Intermediate staff and community decided one of their key goals would be to ensure the school and its programmes were providing best opportunities for Māori students to succeed.

Critical to this has been leadership that advocates pedagogical change and provides opportunities for staff to take part in professional learning. The teachers are supported and so have the confidence to try new teaching practices. These changes have been informed by evidence based on action research carried out by staff in their classrooms. The school has been involved in a number of initiatives which have helped to shape Chisnallwood’s framework for change. There is an emphasis on teachers sharing their knowledge and expertise with each other. This encourages co-operation, resource and information sharing and the cultivation of a professional learning community within the school.

One of these initiatives is Te Kauhua, which has had a significant impact on curriculum implementation at Chisnallwood. It provides professional development opportunities tailored to Māori student and whānau engagement, contributing to the school addressing the Treaty Principle in the New Zealand Curriculum. It focuses on research and models that are considered effective for Māori learners. The school actively focuses on ako, productive partnerships and culture counts as a way to enable Māori student success, as well as success for all learners.

This story examines the journey the staff and students are undertaking together to implement The New Zealand Curriculum in a way that makes a difference for Māori students and is enabling them to succeed.

The teachers and students talk about this in response to some focus questions:

  1. As part of your school review and implementation of the NZC, what is it that you are doing presently that is making a difference for Māori student achievement and whānau engagement? How do you know?
  2. What has been the main motivation for focusing on these areas?
  3. What is the process you have followed?
  4. What have been the challenges and highlights?
  5. What are you thinking about doing next and why?
  6. What advice would you give to other schools wanting to focus on Māori achievement and whānau engagement?

At Chisnallwood, much of the discussion is about the teaching and learning of Te Reo Māori and the importance of this in their lives. This has given a sense of pride to both teachers and students and has helped to foster engagement in all areas of the curriculum.

There is a strong sense of teachers working alongside each other and alongside their students, a sense that together they are building a learning community.

Published on: 07 Nov 2008