Poipoia ngā ākonga kanorau ā-roro Publications
This report provides a Māori-centric view of ākonga kanorau ā-roro, learner neurodiversity. It will help practitioners and educators to work with ākonga kanorau ā-roro and their whānau to provide culturally responsive and effective education and care. It also points to a need to build on the perspectives in the report by sharing oral knowledge and practices that work in today’s education context.
Author(s): Dr Melanie Riwai-Couch
Date Published: August 2021
Te whakarāpopototanga matua | Executive summary
This literature review answers the questions:
‘What does the research tell us about neurodiversity from a Te Ao Māori perspective?’ and in turn, ‘What does the research tell us about the educational experiences, needs and aspirations of ākonga kanorau ā-roro1 and their whānau?’
It provides a Māori centric view of neurodiversity that will benefit educators, helping them to work more effectively with ākonga kanorau ā-roro and whānau. The research included in this review provides insights into how to work in partnership with ākonga kanorau ā-roro and whānau to provide culturally responsive and effective education and care. These require consideration of power imbalances; tailoring for individual ākonga and their specific needs and aspirations; and how to use the identity, language and culture of the ākonga as an asset that will support them to learn, grow, and excel. Key to providing effective care and services to ākonga kanorau ā-roro are relationships, respecting culture, and having educators who are culturally competent working with Māori people.
Key features of effective models and frameworks include: being underpinned by uaratanga Māori (Māori values); being centred on Treaty of Waitangi principles; and providing deliberate space for whānau to engage in processes and decision making.
The principles and solutions are presented thematically using the outcome domains of Ka Hikitia – Ka Hāpaitia | The Māori Education Strategy: te whānau (inclusive, responsive and lived), te tangata (addressing racism and raising critical consciousness), te kanorautanga (catering for diversity and individuality), te tuakiritanga (promoting and honouring identity, language, and culture) and te rangatiratanga (mana enhancing, decision making is ‘with Māori, by Māori and for Māori’).
Recommendations are made for future investment in generating te ao Māori literature; future investment in generating a te ao Māori evidence base, and developing the education workforce. The recommendations from the report are duplicated here in full:
Recommendations for increasing the depth of te ao Māori literature:
- Gathering iwi perspectives; conducting research to help better understand kanorau ā-roro in Māori medium education settings -particularly what is working well that English medium can learn from.
- Invest in kaupapa Māori research relating to both kanorau ā-roro generally and particular types of kanorau ā-roro specifically. Partnerships with universities may help identify post-graduate students interested in engaging in kanorau ā-roro research for Masters or PhD study.
- Convene a hui including key kanorau ā-roro researchers (such as Bevan-Brown, Macfarlane, Elder, and Crawford) for the purpose of identifying opportunities for new or further research that will help to fill gaps and provide additional perspectives about existing knowledge.
Recommendations for growing the te ao Māori evidence base:
- Find ways to trial and evaluate the models and frameworks profiled in the literature to help build an evidence base about what works for ākonga kanorau ā-roro and their whānau. In particular Te Waka Kuaka (Elder, 2017), Te Waka Oranga (Elder, 2017) and He Pikinga Ki Runga (Macfarlane, 2009) seem ready and able to be implemented beyond individual settings.
- Communicate with schools and Māori communities requesting submissions of grassroots (unpublished) research and evidence that they may have (but that is not considered to be academic research). Conduct a review of what is submitted and assist in documenting the learnings so that they can be considered and shared.
- Consider training facilitators and researchers with te ao Māori methodologies such as Puna Kōrero (Riwai-Couch, 2015; Riwai-Couch, Bull, Ellis, Hall, Nicholls & Watkinson, 2020; Riwai-Couch, Bull & Nicholls, 2020) for the collection of ākonga Māori and whānau voices.
Recommendations for developing a culturally responsive education workforce able to work effectively with ākonga kanorau ā-roro:
- Prioritise developing culturally competent practitioners who are cognisant of Māori worldviews and local histories; familiar with historical and contemporary challenges experienced by Māori (particularly Māori kanorau ā-roro) and how these can be mitigated; and are aware of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, its articles and principles for underpinning and shaping Treaty centric practices.
- The principles and solutions presented in this report on pages 16 -21 and recommendations made by Berryman, Nevin, SooHoo and Ford (2015) on pages p.14-16 of their chapter should be used for professional development planning, discussions and learning designed to help meet the educational needs of ākonga kanorau ā-roro.
- The benefits of cultural supervision were not discussed in the literature, however, it is likely that this would assist people in specialist education roles to actively engage in examining their own practice and how it can be better aligned to meet the needs of ākonga kanorau ā-roro. Cultural supervision roles and monitoring may also provide opportunities for iwi and mana whenua to be included as partners in the process of improving education and services for ākonga kanorau ā-roro and their whānau.
Hei whakataki ake | Introduction
This report aims to provide a robust analysis and synthesis of neurodiversity from a Māori worldview. In doing so, it seeks to answer the questions: ‘What does the research tell us about neurodiversity from a Te Ao Māori perspective?’ and in turn, ‘What does the research tell us about the experiences, needs and aspirations of ākonga kanorau ā-roro1 and their whānau?’ It identifies key principles and solutions, and provides descriptions of effective methods and teaching innovations that are being used with ākonga kanorau ā-roro in Māori in Maori-medium and English-medium settings.
The solutions, methods, and innovations are presented thematically using the outcome domains of Ka Hikitia – Ka Hāpaitia | The Māori Education Strategy: te whānau (inclusive, responsive, lived), te tangata (addressing racism and raising critical consciousness), te kanorautanga (catering for diversity and individuality), te tuakiritanga (promoting and honouring identity, language, and culture) and te rangatiratanga (mana enhancing, decision making is ‘with Māori, by Māori and for Māori’).
- ‘Ākonga kanorau ā-roro’ refers to Māori students who are neurodiverse.