Making curriculum connections with mana whenua
The challenges of how to begin engagement with mana whenua for the development of the new Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories curriculum was a hot topic at the recent inaugural national Networks of Expertise summit.
Les Hoerara, Kaiatakawaenga at Teacher Development Aotearoa (TDA), told the summit participants they needed to think about how they would enable Mana Ōrite mō te Mātauranga Māori to be present in all facets of the new curriculum.
ANZH lays the foundation
“We need to ensure that kaupapa Māori and mātauranga Māori can be seen, heard and felt in all of the curriculum refresh.”
He said the Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories (ANZH) curriculum document was the foundation and launchpad for all the other curriculum workstreams. “It lays the foundation because Te Tiriti is in there.”
Initiating connections with mana whenua
He encouraged principal curriculum contract holders and directors to initiate contact with mana whenua on behalf of their particular network of expertise. “Local connections for local areas can be made after this. The initiator is pivotal and needs to do a lot of groundwork. You need someone who has good knowledge of kaupapa and mātauranga Māori to lead the work with the community. It takes time for trust and confidence to grow.”
While Les himself is a key resource for advice on how non-Māori can engage with mana whenua, he recommended Māori strategic advisors at regional Ministry of Education offices and leaders from kahui ako also as good contacts for starting to work out how to make connections with iwi.
Common structure enables collaboration
Graeme Ball, chairperson and kaiārahi of the New Zealand History Teachers’ Association, gave summit participants a presentation on the Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories (ANZH) curriculum document which has been completed and will begin being taught in schools next year. Graeme was a member of the writing panel for the ANZH document.
“The (ANZH) curriculum is based on evidence and an awareness of the context of the times. We give students the tools to interpret and explain the past, develop a critical disposition, and apply this as they learn the content. What they do with it then is their business. One person’s villain can be another’s hero.”
The common structure of all the curriculum documents, i.e., Understand, Know, Do would provide plenty of opportunities for cross-curricular collaboration, as will engaging with local rohe (areas) and local contexts.
“Collaboration can begin by thinking about the big ideas in the “Understand” section of the curriculum documents and looking for parallels.”
Graeme Ball urged summit participants to actively support year-long secondments for teachers who wanted to lead the development and implementation of curriculum documents. “Putting the burden on classroom teachers to do this work is simply not tenable. People need to have time to honour this work and make sure it’s done right.”
The Networks of Expertise are made up of 36 subject and learning area associations and networks led by expert kaiako and teachers across Aotearoa New Zealand. They are funded by The Ministry of Education to enable specialised and tailored peer-to-peer professional development and support for kaiako.