Current Issue

Weaving Biculturalism into everyday practice

Volume 5, Number 2 - November 2017

Editoral

This edition of He Kupu Weaving Biculturalism into our everyday ECE practices is the first edition that focuses on articles on biculturalism and bicultural development. In this issue of He Kupu, bicultural development is explored from a range of perspectives, that includes tiriti-based early childhood education; bicultural teaching and learning; tiriti-based pedagogy; development of bicultural resources; and developing bicultural competency.

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Practitioner Research

Nuhisifa Seve-Williams spoke to Rachel Harper, an early childhood teacher at the Glen Eden Kindergarten on the Te reo Māori: He taonga mō ā tātou mokopuna: A teaching and learning guide (He taonga teaching and learning guide) and its utility in supporting the teaching of te reo Māori in the kindergarten. Rachel supported the Raranga Reo research project that led to the revised teaching and learning guide. She was visited again to see how te reo Māori and tikanga Māori were being enhanced through the use of the He taonga teaching and learning guide.

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I recently interviewed an early childhood practitioner on how they implement biculturalism in their practice and centre, and what resources they use to do this. Lorraine Kaihau (qualified early childhood teacher) is the centre manager of Te Kahui Iti Nei O Te Kopu, a bilingual centre set on the grounds of Tahuna Marae. The centre itself is the vision of Lisa and Roimata Minhinnick and will celebrate its 10th anniversary early next year with a big celebration. It is designed as a place where the future of the iwi could be built, where future leaders are developed, kaitiaki (guardians) that will know their culture and where they come from. These aspirations, the philosophy, and curriculum of the centre have come from the iwi and whānau.

“If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go” (Baldwin, n.d.).This quote aligns with Ka Hikitia (Ministry of Education, 2008, p.9) when it positions The Treaty of Waitangi as being “symbolic of our past” and “central to our future”. It captures the essence of The Treaty explaining why a treaty-based education should be integrated in the curriculum from the early years itself especially with regards to tamariki Māori to acknowledge their place as tangata whenua (Ritchie & Rau, 2006). Te Whāriki emphasises that all children be provided with opportunities to develop a knowledge and understanding of the heritages of both partners of the treaty (Ministry of Education, 1996). This makes it paramount for me, as a teacher, to provide a bicultural learning environment for children. This article draws upon the significance of The Treaty with regards to its relevance in the early childhood education [ECE] context and discusses initiatives that were developed to provide equal opportunities for Māori. In line with these aspects, I highlight how my practice reflects/can reflect the treaty and its principles aligning with kaupapa Māori and Te Whāriki.

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Commentary

Ki aku tīpuna, ki aku kaumātua, ki taku whānau, me mihi kia tika! Nā koutou ahau i poipoia kia tū māia, kia tū pakari, kia tū māhaki i roto i tēnei ao. My strength is not mine alone. It is the strengths of my tīpuna, my kaumātua and my whānau that have guided me, nurtured me, and challenged me to flourish in this world. Reflecting on what they have done, the knowledge and wisdom they have bestowed, continues to inspire me to be confident and humble in who I am today as a Māori woman.

Special Edition

To describe the tikanga concept of rangatiratanga and its place in mainstream early childhood education (ECE) in Aotearoa/New Zealand and investigate what implications there might be for kaiako implementing a bicultural leadership model in mainstream education.

Graduates of initial teaching programmes are required to be culturally competent which has implications on teacher educators and their responsibility to provide culturally responsive programmes. This article captures how an action research project at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology which initially sought to make te reo Māori more visible took the three researchers on a collective journey from te pō (a state of frustration and uncertainty) into te ao mārama (enlightenment and clarity). The article will give a description of the background of the research and its findings and then through pūrākau (a Māori Indigenous form of narrative) will give three different perspectives: two Māori and one Pākehā which highlights how the researchers used the process of reflection, planning change, implementing change, evaluation and professional research conversations used in the action research to inform and develop their practice. The pūrākau will also explore the complexity of realising the aspirations of our initial teaching programme, and the professional responsibilities outlined in the Code of Professional Responsibility and Standards for the Teaching Profession (Education Council, 2017), Tātaiako (Education Council, 2011) and the national curriculum for early childhood education in New Zealand, Te Whāriki, (Ministry of Education [MoE], 2017) within the early childhood education (ECE) context

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In 2016 Te Reo Māori: He taonga mō ā tātou Mokopuna was published and released into the early childhood education (ECE) sector.

To support the release of the book into the ECE sector the Raranga Reo research project was set up by NZTC to evaluate the use of the He Taonga book by teachers in the early childhood sector. A prototype teaching guide to assist teachers’ use of He Taonga was key to the research. The teaching guide was developed alongside a dissemination process and trialled. The dissemination process was a multifaceted approach consisting of briefing meetings and a professional development (PD) session. The briefing meetings were held with key people of ECE centres and a PD session was held for teacher participants. Using a formative evaluation research framework, the Raranga Reo research project collected data to assess the effectiveness of He Taonga with particular reference to the prototype teaching guide. This paper discusses the outcomes of the research project.

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Early childhood in Aotearoa/New Zealand has long been known for its commitment to biculturalism. This acknowledgement of two cultures is seen as a right of children of this country to be exposed to and know the dual heritage of our land. For teachers in centres without mentoring staff members with Māori knowledge and understanding of Māori world views this has often caused a problem. The concern was how they can implement biculturalism to a degree that does honour both cultures. It is not about being the other culture, but rather knowing about it. This would allow values and customs from both cultures to be included and celebrated through practices on the floor of early childhood centres. The purpose of this reflection is to look at means to achieve this in practical ways.

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This paper offers by way of a small sample of newly graduated early childhood teachers their opinions about their bicultural development, ability, knowledge, confidence, motivations and the relevance of bicultural training in terms of preparing them for the workplace. We also examine the students’ thoughts in regards to their further development and the types of support they had encountered or which they believed would benefit them in their work in early childhood centres. We hope that the article is a provocation to teachers and leaders to consider how they support Māori children and their teachers in education. This paper, therefore, also examines significant documents that pertain to teachers’ responsibility in response to education for Māori children, Māori language and the integration of Māori culture in Aotearoa/New Zealand early childhood centres.

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This article presents a case for advocacy that calls for early childhood teachers to consider their role in promoting and creating sustainability within early childhood educational settings in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Drawing from the early childhood curriculum Te Whāriki (Ministry of Education [MoE], 2017) and given its bicultural approach to children’s learning and development, the inclusion of a Māori world-view towards sustainability is proposed. The principles of Whanau Tangata–Family and Community and Ngā Hononga–Relationships are utilised to demonstrate how teachers can make important connections in raising an awareness of Education for Sustainability (EfS). Education has been recognised as a powerful agent for change in introducing and maintaining sustainable attitudes and practices (UNESCO, 2017), while culture is presented as the basis for all decision making (Dessein, Soini, Fairclough, & Horlings, 2015). By connecting EfS to Māori values of kaitiakitanga teachers promote values of care and protection that influence children, families, and the community.

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Book Reviews

Elwyn Richardson (1925-2012) is recognised within educational circles as a visionary educator who made a significant contribution to education in New Zealand. Richardson’s book published in 1964 ‘In the Early World’ detailing his time working with the children and families of Oruaiti School in the far North of New Zealand received national and international acclaim.

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Highlighting the importance of bi/multilingual use of children’s home languages in early childhood settings, the book consists of eight chapters, with the first focussing on policies and curricula that support children’s bi/multilingual use of language. The second chapter highlights the literature on bi/multilingual languages, the third discusses the research design for the study, while the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh chapters outline the research contexts, findings and pedagogical implications for each case study presented. The concluding chapter reflects on the implications for teachers, families, researchers and policy makers, drawing strong connections to theoretical perspectives.

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A collection of 12 essays considering a range of issues and ideas close to the heart of Māori and other indigenous peoples of the world, Home: here to stay tugs on your heart strings, and draws you in to some of the most pressing issues indigenous and colonised communities face today. This book covers topics around the spiritual, physical and emotional concepts of home for Māori, including language loss and preservation, the loss of home and the retention of land, various aspects of Māori health, and an introduction to many aspects of Te Ao Māori (the Māori world).

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Contributors

Carla Keighron, Cindy Hawkins, Dr Diane Gordon-Burns, Fiona Woodgate, Hoana McMillan, Leeanne Marie Campbell, Marjolein Whyte, Michelle Conole, Mihi Harrington, Dr Nuhisifa Seve-Williams, Orlene D’Cunha, Ra Keelan, Rawhia Te Hau-Grant, Robyn Chaffey, Roimata Rokx, Sue Werry

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