22 SES 06 A, Student Supervision
Like other indigenous peoples across the world, Māori people in New Zealand have strengthened their long-standing resistance to the continuing destructive impact of the state education system that failed to respect and protect their language, cultural values and practices and their indigenous world view, while simultaneously holding them responsible for their lack of educational success (Bishop & Glynn, 1999). The state education system has been painfully slow to acknowledge the injustices of access, curriculum focus, pedagogy, teacher education and community participation that have privileged non-indigenous students and communities. Over the past 25 years, Māori educators at iwi (tribal) hapū (sub-tribe) and whānau levels, while strengthening their resistance to a monolingual and monocultural education system, have developed their own (kaupapa Māori) educational theorising and praxis that has created alternative, immersion Māori language educational institutions at all levels; kōhanga reo (pre-school), kura kaupapa Māori (primary school), wharekura (secondary school) and wānanga (tertiary). Over the same time Māori educators and leaders have created educational policy and practice initiatives to improve the pedagogies, curriculum focus and quality of community/school relationships in mainstream schools, in order to improve the success of Māori students nation-wide. These positive initiatives reflect growing trends for indigenous peoples to position their epistemologies and world-views at the center, rather than at the margins of educational policy and practice (Smith, 1999).
In this paper, we examine what this trend might mean for mainstream tertiary education institutions. It requires a major shift in how tertiary institutions develop and deliver graduate and post-graduate research experiences. It requires a re-balancing of power in both the institutional (professional) and the personal (cultural) relationships between faculty and students (Glynn, 2012). At the heart of this shift lies the supervision processes of research by PhD students wishing to work within Māori contexts. As indigenous people of New Zealand, Māori have the right to define their own research questions, research paradigms worldviews and methodologies, and to position these at the center of the institution’s research agenda. Institutions therefore need to ensure that their supervisory processes respect indigenous ways of knowing and caring, and supervisors engage in power sharing and reciprocity with their students and their cultural communities throughout the research process. Supervisors need to re-position themselves as learners, and co-constructors of knowledge, rather than as experts and gatekeepers of researcher-researched relationships and research methodologies. While many may share this aspiration, how to achieve these kinds of relationships and outcomes is challenging.
In this paper we explore the power sharing and constructing of respectful collaborative research relationships among two doctoral supervisors, one indigenous and one non-indigenous, and four research students, two indigenous and two non-indigenous. We are all engaged in researching ways to improve educational outcomes for Māori students and their communities. We explain how as supervisors and students we are creating research contexts that are culturally safe, respectful, responsive, inclusive and dialogic, and how our interactions within these contexts affirm Māori cultural and intellectual protocols as well as those of the institution. We begin by describing our individual cultural identities, values, life experiences, research interests and institutional roles and expectations that we bring together. We explain how, in order to co-construct responsive, inclusive and dialogic contexts we must be prepared to listen respectfully and learn from each other. We explore how these contexts have led to examining three research questions: (1) What counts as worthwhile scholarship by the institution and by the students and their research communities? (2) Who has the power to define, conduct and evaluate the research processes? (3), What new learning occurred within the development of professional and personal relationships between students and supervisors?
Bishop, R. (1996). Collaborative research stories: Whakawhanaungatanga. Palmerston North, New Zealand: Dunmore Press. Berryman, M., SooHoo, S., & Nevin, A. (2013). Culturally responsive methodologies. Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing Group. Bishop, R., & Glynn, T. (1999). Culture counts: Changing power relations in education. Palmerston North, NZ: Dunmore Press. Glynn, T. (2012). Engaging and working with Māori? Effective practice for psychologists in education. In R Nairn, P. Pehi, R. Black & W Waitoki (Eds.). Ka Tu. Ka Oho: Visions of a Bicultural Partnership in Psychology. Invited Keynotes: Revisiting the Past to reset the Future. Wellington: New Zealand Psychological Society. Glynn, T. (2013). Me nohotahi, mahitahi, haeretahi tātou. In M. Berryman, S. Soohoo, & A. Nevin (Eds.). Culturally responsive methodologies. Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing Group. Smith, L. T. (1999). Decolonizing methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples. London, UK: Zed Books.
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