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Exploring parallel documents at Merivale and Maungatapu Schools


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Exploring parallel documents - edited transcript

Jan Tinetti from Merivale School and Sue Horne from Maungatapu School have been looking at using both The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aoteoroa in their schools.

Maungatapu has a three classroom rumaki unit as well as a significant mainstream factor. Māori language is a valued part of the school. With the introduction of The New Zealand Curriculum it was a good opportunity to embrace Te Marautanga o Aotearoa as well to ensure that both parts of the school were working side by side and moving forward. Also as a staff that we were able to have conversations in both languages delivering both sets of curriculum.

At Merivale school we also have a three classroom rumaki unit. However, three years ago we had a one classroom bilingual unit and seven classes in the mainstream. The bilingual unit was doing everything Māori within the school, which was a concern as we have a very small number of children who are not Māori. The bilingual unit has grown to a three classroom, full immersion, level one rumaki unit. We have started now to integrate the principles of the rumaki unit throughout the rest of the school. Three years ago 75% of children were reading below their chronological age, we investigated to find out why that was so. We found out through our investigations that we weren’t connecting with those children and we weren’t connecting with their world. We decided to have a look at the different principles within both documents and that’s where we started our journey.

How did you get started?

Asking for help

We needed to have discussions with significant people. The local resource teacher of Māori helped us make a start at unpacking the Te Marautanga o Aotearoa. We needed to go further and it was wonderful to come across Jan, at the neighbouring school, who was going through the same processes. Together we are starting to build a partnership moving forward.

Traveling in the same direction

We looked at The New Zealand Curriculum to find a way to incorporate Te Marautanga o Aotearoa into that. It was the Māori medium teachers who said we don’t want to be going in a separate direction. I wanted people to have integrity for their own areas and their own tikanga but not to be going off on a different vision. Our community did not want that either. They wanted us to be working towards the same vision and the same values.

Effective communication

It is important to maintain good and regular communications. We begin our staff meetings with a Karakia and we embrace many of the Māori values and protocols of our community in all that we do. It is infusing and embedding those Māori values within our school culture in a way that is quite natural. Gradually any barriers that have been there are slowly broken down as we develop understandings about each other.

The other thing that we’ve done, at a senior management level, is visit our rumaki unit, spoken with the teachers and let them share the protocols and their own kaupapa with us so we can build an understanding. The first meeting we had with the teachers explaining the contexts for learning, the way they plan, what is important for them, was an eye opener for us. We sat there absolutely stunned. We were there as learners and left feeling most enriched and felt we had a huge understanding that we didn’t have before.

Talking to the community

At Merivale we started by gaining a sense of the Merivale community. Many of the people come from outside iwi to this community. There was almost a sense that we didn’t have to deal with things Māori as it wasn’t local iwi we were dealing with. We looked at how many of the local iwi we did have, and 50% of our children were from local iwi. We then looked at how Merivale developed as a community and did treaty training as a staff with a person from the local iwi to take us through that process.

The Board of Trustees were keen to employ someone from the local iwi as a kaiārahi i te reo who takes the staff through customs and protocols and the tikanga of the local iwi and the development of te reo in the entire school. This was a starting point for us to get involved in an understanding of who we were as a school and from there to develop the values and vision of where we were heading. Prior to this there was a sense that we won’t go down that track because we don’t understand it, now the staff have an understanding of the sense of urgency around working within the Māori medium.

We looked at some of our practices and including tikanga into mainstream practices. We do full school kapa haka and everyone is included, the caretaker, the office manager, the support staff, the principal. This has put us, as a staff, in a fabulous position of being learners. The children are the teachers for us. They love it. They love seeing us in that position and we feel we are connecting more with them.

We have also changed language within the school, I have changed from Mrs Tinetti to Whaea Jan. This has been important for the children as we are connecting more to who they are as learners. The staff have embraced this as they now feel they understand where the children are coming from and the richness the children are bringing to their learning.

ka Hikitia
school culture

Published on: 09 Jul 2009