Wed. Nov 30th, 2022

The importance of learning and educational outcomes for Maori is receiving greater interest, with key indicators illustrating underperformance of Maori in modern educational environments. Recent reviews of the processes of education indicate that the Eurocentric view and approach to learning may not be as applicable to the specific requirements of Maori. The New Zealand government has commissioned various research projects in reaction to these concerns, with key findings being proposed to follow through to policy formation of educational outcomes and environments.

A joint project headed by Waikato University, the Waikato Institute of Technology and Auckland University, was initiated to examine how the success rate of adult Maori’s in the ‘learning foundations of literacy, language and numeracy’ can be built on the foundations of Maori culture and identity, applied to a wide range of courses and educational facilities.

The research provided key insights as to how the strong cultural beliefs and traditions that Maori adhere to have implications, not only for their success rates in learning outcomes, but their desire and motivation to do so. However, it is also important to recognise that Maori students are not a homogenous group, and all bring with them varying experiences, attitudes and abilities that must be accustomed for.

As in previous research, the findings of the report reinforced the connections between students and their wider families (whanau). Learning outcomes are not always viewed as individualistic, with the outcome of learning often being seen not only for themselves but for other people around them, including their ancestors and elders. The importance of a sense of well-being by students and the importance of working together remains highly valued, which lends itself to locational based learning to focus on unique marae based educational programs. This research confirmed that the context of the marae was especially significant for Maori learners, as it provides an environment that is considered safe and where knowledge has already been gained, with the ability to reinforce the learner’s identity as Maori in a culturally congruent learning context.

Additionally, the presence and availability of suitably qualified Maori tutors, and the relationship that is established between these tutors and students greatly influences learning and development. The current research indicated that successful tutors needed to focus on building students self esteem and self confidence in their ability to learn and succeed, concentrating on establishing and nurturing trust and confidence between themselves and their students.

The Ministry of Education, in response to these key findings, initiated a separate piece of research, titled ‘Language and Literacy in Marae-Based Programmes’. Its findings reinforced the role of the marae in facilitating higher educational outcomes for Maori, with the use of maraes on educational institutions and campuses becoming increasingly popular in attracting Maori students.

By rahul