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pushing the boundaries for change


From the Margins to the Centre: Repositioning M ori at the centre of early childhood education in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Dr. Jenny Ritchie, University of Waikato – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: pushing the boundaries for change

From the Margins to the Centre Repositioning
Maori at the centre of early childhood education
in Aotearoa/New Zealand.
Dr. Jenny Ritchie, University of Waikato Cheryl
Rau, University of Waikato
pushing the boundaries for change honoring the
child, honoring equity 4th international
conference 11th - 14th November 2004
Overview of Workshop
  • Content
  • Colonisation as context
  • Early childhood education as decolonisation
  • Research design
  • Narratives
  • Workshopping ideas

Legacy from the Past
  • Te Tiriti o Waitangi
  • Allowed for British governance, and in exchange
    guaranteed to Maori the protection of their
  • lands
  • resources
  • rights
  • belief systems
  • and self-determination

Impacting Realities
  • Assumption of sovereignty by the Crown
  • Maori were increasingly marginalized from
    decision-making with consequent losses of
  • lives
  • lands
  • languages
  • and spiritual and physical wellbeing

Education as Agent of Colonisation
  • Maori were subjected to processes that
    disregarded their ways of being and knowing, as
    contained within their language and tikanga
    (cultural practices) (Durie, 1999).
  • Dominant cultures have controlled educational
    discourses, silencing those on the margins
    (Delpit, 1988)
  • Early childhood education is a site of cultural
    transmission, within which discourses of racism
    and colonisation are inadvertently perpetuated
    (Canella, 1997, 1999, 2000).

Moving beyond colonisation
  • Requires major transformation of colonial
    institutions power sharing, multiple
  • Kaupapa Maori describes the practice and
    philosophy of living by Maori cultural values,
    and as such is also a vehicle of decolonisation,
    underpinning Maori conscientisation, resistance
    and transformative praxis within education
    (Smith, 1997).

Early childhood education as transformative site
  • The early childhood sector has been particularly
    progressive in its readiness to be responsive to
    Maori concerns, although this progress hasnt
    been achieved without ongoing tensions and debate
    (May, 2001).
  • Early childhood centres provide the potential for
    intergenerational involvement, enhancing
    transformative possibilities.

Te Whariki
  • The early childhood curriculum actively
    contributes towards countering racism and other
    forms of prejudice (p. 18).
  • The expectations of adults are powerful
    influences on childrens lives. If adults are to
    make informed observations of children, they
    should recognise their own beliefs, assumptions,
    and attitudes and the influence these will have
    on the children (p. 30).

Te Whariki recognises
  • New Zealand is the home of Maori language and
    culture curriculum in early childhood settings
    should promote te reo and nga tikanga Maori,
    making them visible and affirming their value for
    children from all cultural backgrounds (p. 42)

Implementing Te Whariki?
  • (93.1 ) of early childhood teachers working in
    services other than Kohanga Reo, the Maori
    immersion centres, are not Maori (Ministry of
    Education, 2004)
  • Maori colleagues, who unlike their Pakeha
    colleagues, are bicultural, are repositories of
    the expertise required to implement Te Whariki

Two interwoven projects
  • Whakawhanaungatanga partnerships in bicultural
    development in early childhood care and education
    (Jenny Ritchie and Cheryl Rau
  • Maori perspectives on pathways to building
    bicultural capacity in early childhood care and
    education (Cheryl Rau)

Research Design
  • Data drawn from the narratives of
  • early childhood teachers
  • professional development providers
  • iwi (tribal) education authority educators
  • and teacher educators

Collaborative processes
  • Co-design and co-theorising, utilising
  • Whakawhanaungatanga (relationships)
  • kanohi ki te kanohi (face-to-face)
  • korero (dialogue)
  • hui (meetings)

  • Kia ora, I've been having a bit of a think
    before replying to this topic. I think one of the
    biggest values of Maori that we can value is
    Maori themselves.
  • positions Maori people as central to education
  • consistent with Kaupapa Maori theory,
    prioritising and affirming Maori knowledge and
    belief systems

Tikanga Maori protocols
  • Not having food as a play material at the
    centre. The reason being that kai is kai and is
    not to be played with. We do not use any food
    products at all. Playdough is replaced by two
    types of clay, sawdust dough, plasticine (you can
    get some really great plasticine these days!) and
    we are continually looking for other
    alternatives. I hear that bees wax is also great
    for the tamariki to use. We don't use corn flour
    for fingerpaint but find other alternatives.

Tapu and noa
  • Ensure spiritual wellbeing is maintained
  • Tapu is a state of heightened spiritual
    consciousness, and noa is the opposite, the state
    of being spiritually ordinary.
  • Food falls into the noa category, and is not to
    be associated with the highly sacred practices of
    creating artefacts, since this would be a
    spiritual violation of this creative process.

Whangaia te whanau
  • Cooking is also an important part of our
    programme and especially some wonderful
    delicacies such as boil up - pork bones and puha
    from the garden, fish heads, fried bread, kai
    moana seafood galore etc etc. We grow lots of
    veges in our gardens and the whanau and community
    are welcome to help themselves to this kai.

  • obligation to provide hospitality and sustenance
    to visitors. This provision enhances the mana
    (prestige) of the provider.
  • traditional kai affirms and nurtures the tamariki
    and whanau present, provides a tangible link to
    their culture, as well as the physical and
    spiritual sustenance.

  • The centre is seen as belonging to the whanau.
    They have access to all the kindergarten. Office,
    kitchen etc. The computer in the office is for
    whanau to use especially if they require it for
    study. We are mindful of the confidentiality
    factor and always ensure that nothing
    confidential is left on the desk.

Tatou tatou
  • recognition that resources are there to be
    utilised by the collective.
  • equalising of power dynamics between teachers and
  • early childhood centre becomes a centre for
    community learning (Corson, 1999).

  • We have mixed aged grouping at the
    kindergarten. This came about as a need within
    the community. Transport is a barrier when it
    comes to the tamariki attending regularly. We
    have a high proportion of siblings/whaanau
    attending in the same session.

Whanau grouping
  • Whanau grouping means that as teachers we have
    to really get to know the tamariki well and the
    activities and the way the programme is
    structured has to cater for all age groups and
    abilities. Tuakana/teina relationships mean that
    there is a lot of opportunities for leadership
    and support for each other.

Valuing what works for Maori
  • I suppose valuing what works best in each
    individual community and as Maori kaiako being
    able to support this appears to work well.
  • Establishing a community of practice shared
    histories, values and knowledges mediated and
    owned by that community (Anning, 2004).
  • A community-responsive programme (Corson, 1999),

Kaiako Tuarua
  • Nga whakaaro the thinking in this
    kindergarten is based on our philosophy which
    links to Te Whariki and includes te Ao Maori as
    a natural part of the programme.
  • Te Whariki enacted in its bicultural intention
  • Maori values intrinsic to her work and her

  • My kaupapa (philosophy) is that we all one big
    family and we come together for the benefit of
    our children. These are my mokopuna
    (grandchildren). Each child is unique in their
    own way and their whanau are my whanau, so
    welcome to X kindergarten everyone!

  • My tamariki go home and ako (teach) their
    matua as well so everybody is included in this
  • Whakamana
  • Akoranga
  • Kotahitanga

Taonga tuku iho
  • I look at the reo especially the tikanga
    because that keeps me grounded because of the
    lessons weve been gifted and were here to do a
    job not for ourselves but for our rangatira our
    tupuna but families that have gone before us -
    they have led the way for us.

  • Its trusting and believing in that person
    because if they dont trust you they wont do
    anything for you. Come down to the level that
    theyre on and then slowly filter the knowledge
    so youre feeding them try youre also feeding
    the parents and youre opening their eyes up to a
    bigger brighter world.
  • Responsive and reciprocal relationships

He Taura Whiri
  • Marcelle Townsend-Cross, an indigenous Australian
    early childhood academic said that
  • True respect is a deep emotional relationship
    developed through understanding and
    connectedness (Townsend-Cross, 2004).

Transformative praxis
  • This is a transformation of the traditional
    monocultural western kindergarten programme, a
    disruption of the pervasiveness of the hegemonic
    discourses that have dominated early childhood
    practice in this country. These teachers are
    creating space in which Maori ways of being and
    knowing are normal (Jenkins Pihama, 2001).

Tino Rangatiratanga
  • collectively reshaping early childhood provision
    in response to their communities values and
  • Arohia Durie has described tino rangatiratanga as
    a theory of collective action (1994, p. 113).

  • These narratives and strategies of Maori moving
    from the margins to the centre of early childhood
    practice in Aotearoa provide inspiration for
    those of us who are seeking to envision the
    potentialities of Te Whariki, through their
    realisation of Maori centred pathways.

Mana wahine
  • Linda Smith has stated that
  • By just being a Maori and a woman, who thinks
    about her life and her people - one is on the
    cutting edge. That is where Maori women live -
    on the cutting edge of theory (cited in Te
    Awekotutu, 1992, p. 54) .

Mana Maori
  • Mason Durie suggests we strive for
  • a balancing of forces so that the interface can
    be converted from a place of collision and lost
    potential, to a site of growth and innovation,
    both for educational advancement and the
    advancement of the nation (Durie, 2003, p.19).

  • These Maori educators are exercising their tino
    rangatiratanga, which Arohia Durie has described
    as a theory of collective action (1994, p.
    113). Their practice is responsive to the values
    and needs of the communities in which they work,
    reflecting qualities of listening, welcoming, and
    hospitality (Dahlberg, 2004).

Korero Whakamutunga
  • In transforming their kindergarten practice
    around Maori values and priorities, they are
    creating spaces in which Maori ways of being and
    knowing are normal rather than other (Jenkins
    Pihama, 2001).
  • These Maori led pathways are models for moving
    Maori epistemologies from the margins to the
    centre of early childhood practice in Aotearoa.
    Discussing these narratives can serve to disrupt
    our taken-for-granted assumptions of what
    constitutes normal early childhood education
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