Tag Archives: Kaitiakitanga

The Family

20 Jun

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A key note speaker at Catholic Convention and his quote from the Holy Father has got me thinking.

 “families are not a problem, they are first and foremost an opportunity”. The opportunity for the Church is to “care for, protect and support them”. “Once you begin to see the family as a problem, you get bogged down, because you are caught up in yourself.”

The importance of good schooling and parenting is well recognised, but the importance of how schools and families relate is much less understood. The impact of the relationship between schools and families reaches far and wide; affecting wellbeing, behaviour and attainment to name a few. If we are to harness the potential of this relationship, much more must be done to overcome the barriers that exist between teachers and parents today.

Studies have convincingly shown that parental engagement in a child’s learning, rather than simple involvement in school activities, is the most effective way for parents to improve their child’s attainment, behaviour and attendance. Sadly poor parental engagement is having an adverse effect; also taking its toll on pupil, parent and teacher wellbeing.

Many parents say that they have felt patronised, sidelined or ignored by their child’s school, and an equally worrying number of teachers said they had been verbally or physically abused by a pupil’s parent.

Parents and teachers must work as a team to enable parents to connect where it is most important – beyond the school gate, as active agents in the learning of their children in the home. Taking an interest in their child’s education, helping with homework, backing school disciplinary practice in the home and being a source of moral, motivational support are all ways in which parents can effectively engage in education, but such engagement is much easier said than done.

The benefits include:

  • Improved attainment
  • Increased attendance
  • Better behaviour

What are the barriers to effective parental engagement?

Parental experience

The differences between a parent’s level of engagement with their child’s education can be partly attributed to their own experience while at school.

If learning was confined to the school environment, with little engagement from home, they are likely to replicate this pattern with their own children.

In addition to this, some parents may have had a poor school experience themselves, with lower levels of educational attainment. This may mean they lack the skills and confidence needed to positively engage with their child’s schooling.

A chaotic or disordered home environment

When children display behavioural problems in school, disrupting the class and making it difficult for the teacher to teach, there is often an underlying problem in the child’s family life.

If there is nowhere at home for them to study, and no one to help them with that, it will be difficult for children to show that discipline at school.

Parenting support programmes have been shown to be very helpful in engaging the family and boosting achievement, behaviour and attendance.

Family structures

Families in Britain are becoming more diverse, with marriage rates falling and blended families and kinship carers becoming more visible. Schools are challenged to take this into account, ensuring that they are not inadvertently preventing family engagement in education.

Some parents may face barriers to engaging in their child’s education, including disabled parents, fathers, grandparents or other carers, non- resident parents and parents for whom English is a second language.

Family breakdown can have an enormous impact on a child’s well-being. Their attendance, behaviour, and ability to concentrate in class may all be affected by disruption at home. In particularly acrimonious family break-ups, where custody is an issue, schools may be faced with difficulties in engaging both parents. Keeping non-resident parents engaged and active in their child’s life can improve the outcomes for that child.

What are your barriers and how can you solve them?

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He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.

16 Oct

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There is frequent comment in the literature of ‘being Māori’ in learning.  In the Māori Education Strategy- Ka Hikitia, there is clear focus on Māori being Māori in their learning:

This vision means ensuring that all Māori students, their parents and their whanau participate in and contribute to an engaging and enjoyable educational journey that recognises and celebrates their unique identity, language and culture” (MOE, 2013, p.13).

This opinion is supported in much of the literature and reports that have been commissioned by the Ministry of Education.

We know that Māori do much better when education reflects and values their identity, language and culture ...” (MOE, 2013,p.6).

This vision in Ka Hikitia identifies five principles of a Māori approach to learning: the significance of the Treaty of Waitangi, incorporation of identity, language and culture, ako, a two way teaching and learning process, and productive partnerships acknowledging the connection of students to whanau. This week I am going to look back on this document. This seems to speak clearly to our emphasis on collaborative practices in schools.

This clip also got me thinking.

http://www.edtalks.org/#/video/cultural-identity-and-community-in-whitestream-schools

 

Strategic Thoughts

6 Feb

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As our new strategic plan and annual goals for the year kick in I have been thinking about some key values surrounding them. I see myself as connected and innovative educator. At any school, being connected requires the learner to develop a secure sense of their own identity to think and work towards where their potential might lie.

I have been thining about ako, whanaungatanga, manaakitanga, kaitiakitanga.

I will use these concepts and their definitions to frame my current thinking for the year.

Ako is being a learner. A life long learner. Being willing to fail.

Whanaungatanga focuses on building relationships with each other, the community and our children. The relationship that develops as a result of manakitanga – the strength of the group – see people as people not just their role, working collaboratively and collectively. Therefore a teacher knows how to use managed online learning tools to find people and knows how to connect with them. A teacher should have a robust PLN. They think carefully about the dynamics of interactions. They use social media  to make connections and to build their own personal learning community.

Manaakitanga is about developing the ability to walk in others’ shoes which includes seeing issues from others’ perspectives and thinking carefully about the dynamics of interactions. It is about cultural awareness. Teaching is about being innovative and collaborative. A teacher knows how to use and take the tools from their kete to move their practice forward. This again complements the gospel values of the Catholic school.

Kaitiakitanga is the notion of stewardship by ensuring sensitivity and thoughtfulness of actions. I believe teaching is about leaving legacy with students, teachers and community alike.

 

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