07 SES 10 A, Students’ Views on Social Justice
In countries around the world there are many indigenous and immigrant students whose negative experiences of schooling continue to lead towards seemingly immutable educational disparities between themselves and many of their non-indigenous or non-immigrant peers. Although these countries operate within different historical and geopolitical realities, a common experience has been their colonial policies and schooling practices (Castago & Brayboy, 2008; Shields, Bishop & Mazawi, 2005). For these students, many of whom have already suffered inter-generational belittlement, marginalisation or loss of traditional languages and cultural practices, educational disparities are perpetuating an increasing cycle of unemployment, or employment in the lowest paid occupations that further perpetuate low levels of health and housing together with high levels of substance abuse, mental issues, incarceration and suicide.
In New Zealand for example, educational disparities that were first statistically identified in the 1960s between the indigenous Māori population and non-Māori are stark (Hunn, 1960), and, despite multiple attempts to address them, they have continued unabated. Disparities such as these perpetuate an on-going pathology of Māori underachievement that is reflected in and reinforced by the discourses of wider New Zealand society (Bishop & Glynn, 1999). Principles of equity and social justice pertaining to the distribution of wealth and well-being, and political imperatives on the wider population to address the detrimental impact of economically non-engaged proportions of the population, makes this an issue that policy makers and educators in general should be aware of and seeking to do something about.
From 2001 to 2013, researchers in an iterative research and professional development programme known as Te Kotahitanga (Unity of Purpose), worked iteratively across five phases towards understanding the praxis behind reducing educational disparities between indigenous Māori and non-Māori students in 50 of New Zealand’s secondary schools (Bishop, Berryman & Wearmouth, 2014). A significant finding was the critical value of implementing a culturally responsive and relational pedagogy (Bishop, Ladwig & Berryman, 2012). Such a pedagogy involves teachers creating contexts for learning where students are able to to define the learning processes within relationships of interdependence and power sharing; where the students’ cultural knowledge and prior learning experiences are used as the basis for constructing new learning; where learning is both actively and dialogically constructed between teachers and students and between students and students; and where teachers and students are connected with one another through a common vision of educational excellence for Māori students (Bishop, Berryman, Cavanagh & Teddy, 2007).
In 2010, Phase 5 of Te Kotahitanga began with 16 new schools on an accelerated, professional development, learning trajectory. Then, in 2013, a group of nine schools from Phase 3 and 4 were also invited to re-engage with the Te Kotahitanga reform and volunteered to participate in an intensive, accelerated professional development programme over a six-month period alongside the last year with phase 5 schools. The purpose of this research was to investigate the impact of the Phase 5 accelerated, pedagogical response on the practices in classrooms and to draw a comparison with that of the nine re-engaged Phase 3 and 4 schools. Three review tools were utilised, that had previously been developed and trialled to collect reliable evidence from students and teachers, of the effectiveness of teachers to embed this culturally responsive and relational pedagogy in their classrooms (Berryman, 2013).
Alton-Lee, A. (2014). Ka Hikitia Demonsration Report: Effectiveness of Te Kotahitanga Phase 5 2010-12 (Interim Report, April 2014). Wellington, New Zealand: Ministry of Education. Berryman, M. (2013). Te Kotahitanga: Culturally responsive and relational pedagogies for teachers and students. In S. Katene, & M. Mulholland (Eds.), Future challenges for Māori (pp. 125-136). Wellington, Aotearoa, New Zealand: Huia Publishers. Berryman, M. (2013). Leaders’ Use of classroom Evidence to Understand, Evaluate and Reform Schooling for Indigenous Students. A Developmental Approach to School Self- Evaluation Advances in Program Evaluation; 14, pp. 147-161. Emerald Group Publishing Limited. ISSN: 1474-7863/doi:10.1108/S1474-7863(2013)0000014009 Bishop, R., Berryman, M., & Wearmouth, J. (2014). Te Kotahitanga: Towards effective education reform for indigenous and other minoritised students. Wellington, New Zealand: NZCER Press. Bishop, R., & Glynn, T. (1999). Culture counts: Changing power relations in education. Palmerston North, New Zealand: Dunmore Press. Bishop, R., Ladwig, J., & Berryman, M. (2014). The centrality of relationships for pedagogy: The Whanaungatanga thesis. American Educational Research Journal, 51(1), 184-214. doi:10.3102/0002831213510019 Castagno, A. E., & Brayboy, B. M. J. (2008). Culturally responsive schooling for Indigenous youth: A review of the literature. Review of Educational Research, 78: 941-99. Hunn, J. (1960). Report on Department of Māori Affairs. Wellington: Department of Māori Affairs. Shields, C., Bishop, R., & Mazawi, A. E. (2005). Pathologizing practices: The impact of deficit thinking on education. New York: Lang.
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