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: https://app.themindlab.com/media/12844/view
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: http://edtalks.org/video/mike-hogan-culturally-responsive-practice-mainstream-school
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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXjGPR41zhk&feature=youtu.be