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Te pakeke hei ākonga: Māori adult learners

Publication Details

This report explores success in literacy and language learning for Māori adults. It captures the perspectives and voices of learners, tutors and providers in foundation learning programmes. It describes how Māori tutors reinforce and strengthen their Māori learners’ identities through ensuring that Māori tikanga and values pervade the teaching and learning environment.

Author(s): Colleen McMurchy-Pilkington, University of Auckland

Date Published: August 2009

5. Providers’ perspectives

One of the providers from a PTE said they had seen a gap.

We had this vision. We know that there’s a whole swag of well, not just Māori kids but a whole swag of people who are leaving school without having fulfilled their potential and we saw this as an opportunity to give them a second or third or whatever chance. (CEO, Māori PTE)

One PTE had a teacher aide in every class who could work on individual programmes with some students. “And that’s pretty unique. The research talks about it being one of the most effective tools as far as helping, the impact on teaching but it’s a cost because you’ve got to pay for two staff” (CEO).

We really encourage our staff to grow, so it’s not just our students. We really focus on our staff as well because we think that that’s really empowering for them, and we subsidise our staff with their quals. We make sure they realise they’re valued. (CEO, PTE).

One PTE talked about giving their staff a $50 voucher on their birthday, taking them out at the end of the term, giving them Easter eggs, and having fun with them.

This sector is quite a poorly paid sector in comparison to [local polytech] and university, but the conditions, that’s why we really focus on the conditions of work and make sure it’s a fun place to be. Their hours of work aren’t too long, the students finish at 2.30 and then on Friday they finish at lunchtime so it gives staff time for preparation because I think that’s really, really important. (CEO, PTE)

PTEs and iwi providers send their tutors on training courses, “out to different funded projects that MoE are doing”. Most seem also to have teacher-only days, where they do training for each other or bring someone in. This does not seem typical for the traditional providers who tend to focus on staff gaining academic rather than professional qualifications. That is, as noted earlier, the staff were engaged in completing a bachelors degree or were enrolled in a postgraduate diploma or masters course although not necessarily related to the teaching of the foundation course. Staff not teaching at degree level or above do not have to have a degree themselves or to be engaged in research that underpins their teaching. They could be perceived by other academic staff as not needing additional qualifications and not as academically skilled.


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