Indigenous Knowledge and Culturally Responsive Pedagogy

My Story

My parents and I immigrated to New Zealand in 1968, I had turned two in December  1967. We arrived in Wellington and went to live with my aunt and uncle and their 4 children in Wainiomata.  We lived with them until our own home was built. My parents could not speak English, Dutch was our first language. My mother learnt to speak English by listening to the radio and my dad through his work. I learnt it playing with my cousins and neighbours kids.

When I started school in 1970, I was able to speak and understand most things in both English and Dutch, the down fall I had was that I wasn’t strong in either one. My grammar was correct for either one ( at times still not right now), looking back I believe also my letter sounds were a bit jumble up, but I got by. Or so I thought until one day my teacher sent home a note to my parents which basically said: STOP SPEAKING DUTCH AT HOME. My mum told me years later that what had happened was the teacher had asked me a question I sat there thought about what she had asked me and I answered her in Dutch not English. Now my mum believed that because she and my dad had decided to immigrate to New Zealand that we needed to learn the ways of New Zealanders, so my mum stop talking to me in Dutch ( which she regrets to this day).

Back in the 1970’s education was a different kettle of learning compared to now. Now we embrace students with different cultures and accept them and allow them the chances to speak, write and share in their culture. It’s a pity my teachers back in the 1970s didn’t do this, I may have become a person who had a good grounding in both English and Dutch.

So how does this all affect me being culturally responsive in my class? I will have to say that part of me use to say so what. I wasn’t allowed my culture at school or at home. Then one day I realised that what I was feeling is what indigenous children and their families are feeling.



Indigenous cultural Responsiveness at my school.

One of the positive things about the school that I am currently working at is that we are always looking at different ways that we as a staff can make connections with our Maori students and their families, (MacFarlane, 2009).

We have a school programme called Tamaiti Maui which under pins how we interact with our families. As a staff we are looking at different ways that we can improve Maori student achievements, and focus on their potential, (MacFarlane, 2009).

As a staff we are working on making more connections with our indigenous students and their cultures.  But as (Tauli-Corpuz,2012) states we also need to  look at how their traditions  influenced their societies. To help us (staff and students), have a better understanding of tikanga our lead teacher in Maori has been working with teachers and students on the importance of manaakitanga and whanaungatang through classroom activities.

As Bishop (2009) states:

……”as teachers providing a context in the classroom that is responsive to the culture of the child not child centred education but relationship centred education and its culturally responsive and based on relationships. …..”

We provide learning environments and staff that care about the students they are teaching, care about how and what they are learning and most importantly care about creating learning relationships between all parties, (Bishop, 2009).


With all of this happening we still need to work on making better connections with our Maori community, (Hogan, 2012). One of the ways that we are hoping that will help with this, by having school wide blogs for each classroom and from years 4 up students have their own blog page connected to their class blog.



Bishop, R. (2009).  A culturally responsive pedagogy of relations.  Retrieved on 25 March 2016 from:

Bishop, R., & Berryman, M. (2009). The Te Kotahitanga Effective Teaching Profile. Set: Research Information for Teachers, 27-33.

Hogan, M. (2012).  Culturally responsive practice in a mainstream school.  Retrieved on 25n March 2016 from:

Lawrence, D. (2011). What can I do about Maori underachievement? Critical reflections from a non-Maori participant in Te Kotahitanga. Set: Research Information for Teachers [Wellington], 32-38.

MacFarlane, S. (2009). “Te Pikinga ki Runga: rising possibilities.” . Set: Research Information for Teachers , 42-50.

Tauli-Corpuz, V. (2012).  Understanding indigenous worldviews.  Retrieved on 25 March 2016 from:


Has Social Media had Impact On My Teaching

Heck yes!!! If it wasn’t for the social medias that are out there now, I truly believe that I would have become one of those boring teachers who do the same old thing over and over again because “that’s way we always do it” I know I was getting sick of hearing this when it was being said when I tried to introduce a new idea.

As (Evans, 2015) states

“ Individual professionals are increasingly expected to take responsibility for their own professional development and learning activities.”


And this is becoming the reality for teachers also.  We are required to do teacher inquiries on target students. So that we can identify why they are not doing so well and then go and look for ways to help improve  their learning outcomes. The only way we can do this is ask for help from other teachers via social medias such as Facebook, Twitter or Google + Communities. We do this by asking questions or asking for suggestions on what other teachers have done in similar situations.


In fact what we are doing is having an “online open brainstorm”, (Evans, 2015). Evans figure 1(2015),  goes on to states that there is a 6 stage process that happens when we have online brainstorming sessions.  See figure 1.

These 6 stages are based on what happen in Twitter but I believe it can apply to most online discussion groups.

Many teachers believe that the use of social media is more about chatting with friends and family rather than be used in way to enhance our professional development, (Balakrishnan, 2013). I see them as both. By me using Facebook I have been able to make contact not only with friends and family but also other teachers via groups that are created there, with past students who I can check in with and ask how they  felt about the things that I did in my class with their learning. By being part of education groups you get to share with educators around the world as well as in New Zealand what they are doing in their classrooms, pedagogy they may be using to help in their professional development, (Balakrishnan, 2013).

For teachers to be able to teach their students about the pit falls of social media such as cyber bulling we need to have a good understanding of how social medias work and how we can keep our students save while they are online. (Social Media For Kids® ).  How else are we going to be able to teach them these skills?

As educators we need to make connections with a wide range of people in the world. We need to do this so we give our students the best learning they can have. By being connected to others it also opens up our minds and thirst for learning and for stepping outside the normal boundaries of the classroom, (Connected Educators).


My go to social media are Facebook and Pinterest being my first two and google+ communities as well. Pinterest is where I go to get my ideas on how to help my students learning in the way of different activities.

pinterest pic
My go to places on the web.


Facebook is where I go and see what people are discussing, asking about, sharing readings or teaching ideas.

My other place I go to on the  web.


Google+ Communities is new to me I become part of this during the time that I did my study with Mindlab. I put comments up and ask for help when I am stuck on what I am meant to do for my assignments or I have to do stuff for my assignments.  During my studies I have also started up my own personal blog as it was part of the course requirement. I hadn’t thought about doing this earlier but I plan to keep it going and hope to make connections with others. If its one thing that I have gotten out of this is making connections is the key to keeping yourself up to date, (Connected Educators).

In my school this year to help us connect with our community and to help give our students a voice to share their own learning we have set up classroom blogs. I have enjoyed getting this up and running and now it’s about giving the students their voice to share what they are learning or have learnt.

By using these social medias I am upskilling myself and my students. We are learning how to be part of the 21st Century.



Balakrishnan, V. (2013). Using social networks to enhance teaching nd learning experiences in higher learning institutions. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, , pg 595-606.

Cassidy, K.  (2013). Using social media in the classroom. Retrieved on 19 March 2016 from: and

Connected Educators.  Retrieved on 19 March 2016 from: and

Evans, P. (2015). Open online spaces of professional learning: Context, personalisation and facilitation. Techtrends, 31-36.


Social Media For Kids® The Social Media Education Experts.   Retrieved on 19 March 2016 from: and




My Online Journey so far….

My journey with online learning starting when I got accepted into the Mixed Medium Programme (MMP) at the University of Waikato in 1997. The internet as a word that I had not heard off let alone understood what it meant.  The delivery of the programme (presentation as its known by now) was via face-to- face session on campus, some telephone calls but the majority was via online and at a base school, (University).

graduation mmp
Mixed Media Programme – Year 2 

Back then the cost of using the internet was expensive we had to pay $5 per hour as we were outside of a major city. I was living in a small rural area of the Hawkes Bay at the time I started my studies. Because of this most of our tutors were very understanding that we sent most of our work via email. We learnt very quickly how to cut and paste off line, then would go online (this could take some time as it was dial up and being in a rural area the phone lines were not great), hit the send button and then log off.

The University had created a site were we could join and put in our weekly assignments, but because of the cost to some of us we could submit via email. By the time we got into our second year costs were down (we still had to pay by the hour be we got a special rate of $2.50 if I remember correctly). We were able to access our MMP site and we started using online chat groups for our different areas of study more. We still submitted our assignments via email, those that we could send that way. We still had some that we had to use snail mail or take with us when we went on campus.

By the time we finished our 3 years we all could use email, chat rooms, web sites pretty well. During this journey we also worked closely with our lecturers letting them know what worked well for us and what didn’t. They listen to some of our ideas and made changes along the way. By the time we completed our 3 yrs how we submitted our assignments didn’t change but pour we interacted with each other had. We had to do more collaborative work for assignments which we did via email( only way we could then) or when we were on campus if we didn’t live in the same area for a catch up. Our participation in chat rooms counted towards our marks also. So we would have to go into them everyday/night to read other peoples comments or the tutors and then add our ideas too.



From then on I started my true online journey on myspace, then I tried some online gaming sites, then I went off the internet for a while. Teaching and being a mum got in the way. Yes teaching, it wasn’t until the early 2000’s that I got back into it ICT or IT. I become a member of the ICT team at my school. We got interactive boards in our classrooms, had pods of laptops for the teachers to use in class, we were online. During this time the biggest problem that I remember was getting teachers on board. Why it was important to be IT savvy, how it would fit into their classroom programmes. The funny thing is this is still the same issues that many teachers are saying now.

University, T. W. (n.d.). Retrieved March 19, 2016, from

Just a quick note

As I was tidying up all my reading and stuff related to the course I found this quote that came about during my training at Waikato University from a fellow student. I feel that is quote is even more relevant now, for both us teachers and our students:

“The MMP is a visionaries dream that has gone beyond the boundaries of institutional walls to provide a media-torial, transmitted, communicate educational link and online global learning environment for the learner.”

Moe Hook January 1999

MMP stands for the Mixed Media Programme that Waikato University runs for distance learning.


My thanks to all

Well I have just posted up the last part of my final assignment for my Postgraduate Course at The MidLab Petone. While it has been a battle at times to get my assignments done. I have finally finished.

I would like to thank the family who provided me with the scholarship that I was granted to complete this course. without it I would not have been able to complete it.

I would also like to thank my colleagues for putting up with a stressed colleague who at times was short . I would also like to thank them for being sound boards and giving me their opinions on a wide range of subjects.

Lastly, I would like to thank my family for putting up with me and not being able to access the dinning room table for weeks on end because of my readings being spread over the place. Thanks also for your words of encouragement especially when I was having trouble getting assignments done.


This has been my ‘office’ for the last 32 weeks.

What now that my studies are finished? Where to now?

The three criteria that I feel I have meet well are:

Criteria 4: Demonstrate commitment to ongoing professional learning and development of professional personal practice.

Criteria 5: Show leadership that contributes to effective teaching and learning.

Criteria 7: Promote a collaborative, inclusive, and supportive learning environment.

The past 32 week learning journey through The Mind Lab Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Practice (Digital & Collaborative Learning) has been a challenge for me professionally as well as personally.

When I first heard of the course I thought yes I need to upskill myself in this area, (Osterman & Kottkamp, 1993) and felt that I would gain heaps from it for not just myself but my students and colleagues. I had to work hard at staying focused (due to a death in the family) getting my assignments done and going to the face to face sessions that we needed to attend. As I moved through my studies I shared what I was learning with my colleagues. We would talk about issues that come up my face to face sessions or readings that I had read. From this sharing of information helped a colleague show the BOT of the school how 21st Century learning was happening in her class.

Part of our school development in ICT was getting the mimio interactive boards up and running through the whole school. So to take up the challenge of becoming the lead teacher in this area I needed ensure that I had a good understanding of what the job entailed and what it was I needed know, (DeBlois 2000).

The Two areas that I wish to develop more

Criteria 8: Demonstrate in practice their knowledge and understanding of how ākonga learn.

Criteria 10: Work effectively within the bicultural context of Aotearoa NZ.

After reading Dawn Lawrence’s article What I can do about Maori Achievement? (Lawrence, 2011). I realised that I need work more in this area. This article helped make me realised that even though I was doing things in my classroom practice better for my Maori student, I still hadn’t made the complete mind shift that is needed to truly help my students. I want to get a better understanding of what it means to teach Maori as Maori, and discover what it this looks like in the classroom.

I feel that as this reflective cycle is coming to an end another one is beginning and I feel that my reflective skills are more developed then they were when I first started on this learning journey, (Osterman & Kottkamp, 1993). I look forward at gaining a better understanding of how I can work alongside my learners and collaborate with them on our learning journey together, (Bishop & Berryman, 2009).

As (Bishop & Berryman, 2009) state

……” ako is a teaching-learning practice that involves teachers and students learning in interactive, dialogic relationships.”

As teachers we need to look more at co learning with our students and letting them be the teacher when it’s required. We need our students to realise that we are paying lip serves to them but that we really mean what we say. At the end of the day teaching is all about the relationships we build. To do this we need to ensure that we provide a learning environment that cares for the people, cares about their learning and it is an environment that shows a learning relationship between all parties, (Bishop 2009).


Bishop, R., & Berryman, M. (2009). The Te Kotahitanga Effective Teaching Profile. Set: Research Information for Teachers, 27-33.

DeBlois, R. (2000). The Everyday Work of Leadership. Phi Delta Kappen, September 2000, pg25-27.

Lawrence, D. (2011). What can I do about Maori underachievement? Critical reflections from a non-Maori participant in Te Kotahitanga. Set: Research Information for Teachers [Wellington], 32-38.

Osterman, K. F., & Kottkamp, R. B. (1993). Reflective Prctice for Educators. In K. F. Kottkamp, Reflective Prctice for Educators (pp. 2-17). United States of America: SAGE Publications Ltd.











Activity 6 Contemporary Issues or trends in NZ or internationally

*for this activity I could write up my thoughts in my own words this is why i have used bullet points as its how I work.

What do my community and I have to do, to overcome the issues these trends bring with them.

Modern Learning Environments

As schools move forwards into the 21st Century there is a lot of pressure put on them to roll with the times and changes that studies and report say. There is a lot of talk about Modern Learning Environments, (Education, 2014), (for this assignment I am assuming that you know what a Modern Learning Environments is all about).

As a teacher I will have to:

  • Work collaboratively with my students, other teachers and students from different parts of the world
  • Allow my students to lead their own learning
  • Have very good knowledge of the pedagogy behind these trends
  • Be more up to date with the technologies that are available
  • Be opened minded to the fact that my students will know more about these technologies than me

For my community they will need to realise:

  • Teachers need to stop worrying about sharing ideas with each other
  • Students can lead their learning
  • Know how they learn best
  • Spend money to help create learning environments
  • Working with people from all walks of life\non teachers\other children
  • It’s not all about book work and testing – data output

For my parents:

  • Understanding how their child is learning has changed
  • Understanding their child has a lot more knowledge than themselves and the teacher and that, that is ok
  • That the learning their child is doing will help them for the unknown future


Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD)

This means that students can bring their own devices to school for the purpose of learning, (Education, enabling elearning).

As a Teacher I will need to:

  • Good understanding of the pedagogy behind BYOD
  • Planning will need to be flexible and move with the changes as they come
  • Be prepared that my students will know how to use their device better than me
  • Be open minded in how students are using their devices
  • Follow school policies
  • Prepared for the fact that I will spend more time online monitoring students learning

For my community they will need to realise:

  • Wifi connections need to be up to date
  • Higher usage of data
  • New policies need to be put into place
  • New systems need to be put into place
  • Upskilling of teachers on new systems
  • Buying the teachers and school community into BYOD
  • Supplying devices for students unable to bring their own devices

For the parents:

  • Finding the money to cover the costs of own device this would be especially difficult for those parents who have more than 1 student at the same school
  • Coming to grips that their child is moving into the digital age and its no longer book and pen
  • Costs of keeping own devices up to date with current updates and programmes needed
  • Pressure put on them by their child and or school to buy


Education, M. o. (2014, june). Woolston School MLE Case study. Retrieved February 20, 2016, from h

Education, M. o. (n.d.). enabling elearning. Retrieved February 20, 2016, from