Report of the Māori-medium Workforce Reference Group into strengthening the Māori-medium Education workforce (2012)

Publication Details

Māori-medium education has grown in response to the desire to revitalise and regenerate te reo Māori.

Author(s): Ministry of Education

Date Published: July 2012

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Executive Summary 

There are now almost 27,000 learners and around 2,000 teachers engaged in a wide range of Māori-medium and bilingual programmes where learners are immersed in te reo Māori at a variety of levels. Ensuring an effective Māori-medium teaching workforce is critical for supporting today's and tomorrow's students to succeed in education and beyond, and to have the pride and commitment to uphold tribal identity and integrity.

The Māori-medium Workforce Reference Group (the Group) has developed a vision for a quality Māori-medium education workforce:

  • Highly proficient in te reo Māori me ngā tikanga, and highly knowledgeable in Māori-medium pedagogy and Māori-medium education curriculum;
  • With sufficient numbers of practitioners through early childhood to senior secondary school, ensuring delivery across the full range of Māori-medium education settings;
  • With sufficient coverage across all immersion levels, and with the range of  knowledge and skills to move learners to the highest immersion level;
  • Responsive to and engaged with iwi and te reo Māori speaker communities in their role as leaders of the revitalisation of te reo Māori, and with iwi and Māori education priorities and aspirations; and
  • Where workforce growth is adequately planned for and supported by relevant, quality models of recruitment, initial teacher education, professional learning and development, retention, succession planning and active monitoring.

While Māori-medium education makes a huge contribution to the revitalisation of te reo Māori and delivers some of New Zealand's best educational outcomes for Māori learners, realising the vision will require persistent workforce capacity and capability issues to be addressed.

The Group recommends that the first step to achieving the vision must be a review of current definitions of Māori-medium education, including immersion levels. The Group also recommends change in a number of other areas: involving whānau, iwi and Māori education organisations; promoting teaching as a profession and teacher recruitment; initial teacher education; supporting beginning teachers; professional learning and development; and building a strong evidence base to support Māori-medium teaching and learning.

Involvement of whānau, hapū, iwi and Māori education organisations

Whānau, hapū, iwi and Māori communities are repositories of language, tikanga, mātauranga Māori and mātauranga-ā-iwi, and the centres of community language revitalisation.  They are also the main sources of the Māori-medium education workforce. Their involvement in growing and strengthening the workforce could be further encouraged, supported and appropriately resourced through genuine, cooperative engagement and partnership.

The Group recommends that the Ministry extends its engagement with whānau, hapū, iwi and Māori education organisations, to particularly focus on strengthening the Māori-medium education workforce. It is expected that implementation of this report's recommendations would enhance and build on, not supersede, the Ministry's agreements with iwi and Māori education organisations.

Promotion and recruitment

Sufficient high calibre Māori-medium teachers with suitable qualifications and expertise are needed. There are long standing shortages, including in some subject areas, some locations and some year levels.  This will become more challenging as demand for Māori-medium teachers is expected to increase from 2015.

Change is needed to: raise the status of te reo Māori; improve how the teaching profession is perceived; grow the pool of teacher candidates; increase pathways into teaching; and ensure that teacher education scholarships are appropriately targeted for the needs of Māori-medium education.

Initial Teacher Education

The quality of initial teacher education is fundamental to developing capable Māori-medium teachers who can deliver what learners need. The quality of Maori-medium initial teacher education is variable, including the quality of language provision. There is also a limited evidence base on which to design the supports teacher trainees and new teachers need in Māori-medium settings.

Substantial, system-wide changes are needed in Māori-medium initial teacher education to ensure the pedagogy, skills and standards necessary for the development of effective teachers. The Group recommends as a priority that collaborative models of provision, including criteria for standards of delivery, are developed.

Beginning teachers

Retaining beginning teachers in Māori-medium is a significant and pressing issue – only a fifth remain after three years. The Group recommends that a concerted effort is made to incorporate and reflect best practice in mentoring, support and professional learning and development programmes for Māori-medium beginning teachers. Effective induction, mentoring and coaching for beginning teachers is essential for developing their capability as effective teachers, and for retaining them in the profession.

Professional learning and development

Professional learning and development that is appropriate and relevant to the diverse range of Māori-medium education settings is essential for strengthening effective teaching. The Group suggests that dialogue continues with the sector to ensure that funding and resources are most effectively targeted to professional learning and development that positively impacts on raising Māori language development and lifting quality teaching and professional leadership.

Building a strong evidence base

The Group recommends that work is done on best practice guidelines and standards, as well as workforce planning, to support Māori-medium teaching and learning. There are examples of excellent practice, and work on te reo Māori proficiency standards is underway, but best practice needs to be adopted across the sector. Furthermore, the evidence platform needs to be strengthened, to adequately plan for the right numbers of Māori-medium teachers, the locations, immersion levels and year levels where they are needed, as well as the skills and competencies required.

Recommendations

The Group recommends changes across the education sector to invest in and grow the capacity and capability of the Māori-medium education workforce. These changes will contribute to strengthening the quality of Māori-medium teachers, addressing teacher shortages, raising the status of teaching, and improving supports to meet the needs of Māori-medium education.

Building the capacity and capability of the Māori-medium education workforce requires special strategies to capture the unique nature of this part of the education sector.  Multiple pathways are needed to achieve the desired growth. Ensuring the long term strength and sustainability of the Māori-medium education workforce will require a broad, integrated approach involving not just government agencies, but also iwi and Māori communities. It will require a mix of solutions including reviewing existing policies, developing new policy frameworks, introducing new initiatives, and undertaking targeted research and analysis.

Accordingly, the Group presents a package of recommendations as a coherent work programme. Recommendations are grouped to address key areas where change is required.

The Māori Medium Workforce Reference Group recommends that:

  1. The Ministry of Education develops a work programme and provides resources to:

Overarching recommendations

  1. Increase investment in the growth of Māori-medium education, at all stages from early childhood to teacher education, and strengthen and promote Māori medium education as a highly desirable, viable option and choice.
  2. Incorporate the Reference Group's Vision and Objectives into the Ministry's strategies for raising student achievement and quality teaching.
  3. Develop policy to actively promote and strengthen the status of te reo Māori.
  4. Review the current definitions of Māori-medium education (including immersion levels) for early childhood and school settings. The purpose of the review is to establish an agreed definition with the Māori-medium education sector to ensure learners' optimal language development and success and growth in the speakers and users of te reo Māori to high levels of proficiency. The review should consider the Reference Group's suggested definition in section 3.4.

Involvement of whānau, hapū, iwi and Māori education organisations

  1. Acknowledge the role of whānau in the governance of Māori-medium settings as a key ingredient to successful outcomes and high student achievement.
  2. Effectively engage with iwi over ways of supporting them to contribute to strengthening the Māori-medium education workforce, on their own terms and to meet their desired aspirations for te reo Māori.
  3. Continue and deepen the engagement with iwi and Māori education organisations through cooperative partnerships.

Promotion, recruitment and pre-initial teacher education

  1. Grow the pool of high calibre teacher candidates through:
    • Promulgation of case studies and guidelines on successful examples of community-based promotion and recruitment through kura, school, iwi and community networks.
    • Resourcing kura and schools to run programmes, in conjunction with initial teacher education providers, to identify high calibre teacher trainee applicants and to provide pre-initial teacher education training opportunities and accreditation for them.
    • Incentivising wharekura graduates with at least NCEA Te Reo Rangatira 3 to enrol in a Māori-medium initial teacher education program
  1. Define 'disposition to teach' for Māori-medium so that the most suitable people can be identified and supported to train as teachers, including identification by kura and iwi.
  2. Grow the numbers of early childhood and school students in high level immersion (level 1), as a means of increasing the pool of future Māori-medium teachers. This will include provision of pertinent information to all parents and whānau about the success and benefits of Māori-medium education to support parents' and whānau choices about their children's education.

Initial Teacher Education

  1. Strengthen the quality of Māori-medium initial teacher education by establishing effective, collaborative models of provision, including criteria for standards of delivery and coordinated professional development opportunities for teacher educators.  This could be achieved through mechanisms such as developing a national network, a centre of excellence and better coordination of programmes.  Consultation with the Māori-medium initial teacher education sector, iwi and other key stakeholders will be required.
  2. Raise the level of funding given by the Tertiary Education Commission for Māori-medium initial teacher education to recognise the specialist skill and greater workload involved in the delivery of total immersion Māori language initial teacher education programmes.
  3. Improve te reo Māori proficiency of undergraduate initial teacher education students that is appropriate for teaching by:
    • Enhancing and improving opportunities for one year Māori-medium 'stepping stone' / foundation programmes to allow those with less than optimum te reo Māori to achieve language proficiency (te reo Māori me te marau), prior to entering, during or post initial teacher education.
    • Increasing the value of undergraduate te reo Māori Equivalent Full-time Student Funding (EFTS) to improve language proficiency.
    • Working with the New Zealand Teachers Council to ensure clear te reo Māori requirements for initial teacher education entry and graduation, developing a proficiency framework, and defining Māori-medium initial teacher education programmes.
  1. Develop closer relationships between Māori-medium student teachers and kura/schools, iwi, Māori education organisations and communities to support their language and pedagogical development by:
    • Engaging and supporting kura to develop their capability as 'kura hāpai' to mentor students.
    • Using technology and distance learning combined with wānanga so that Māori-medium student teachers are able to remain based in their home and kura communities.
    • Requiring initial teacher education providers to engage with kura, wharekura and rumaki to increase the frequency of practicums and improve the quality of the practicum experience for trainees.
    • Kura/schools, iwi and community working with the initial teacher education provider to support and mentor student teachers.
    • Establishing a programme to allocate an expert mentor to each student teacher throughout their training and provisional registration.
  1. Establish Māori-medium initial teacher education programmes for specialist subject teachers, such as:
    • A programme to enable primary-qualified Māori-medium teachers with a degree major in science, maths and other specialist subject areas to teach beyond year 10 in Māori-medium.
    • A programme for secondary te reo Māori teachers to qualify in a specialist subject that they can teach in Māori-medium.
  1. Develop an appropriate post-graduate teaching qualification for Māori-medium education that is responsive to and reflective of kaupapa Māori pedagogy, including consideration of:
    • the content of the qualification
    • delivery models, which are taught in te reo Māori
    • pathways to achieving the qualification, and
    • support for students to complete the qualification.
  1. Consult with the Māori-medium education sector over whether the post-graduate teaching qualification for Māori-medium education should be linked to full teacher registration.
  2. Improve funding supports to Māori-medium student teachers, including reviewing current scholarships, student allowances and loans to align them with any new post-graduate qualifications requirements that are developed.
  3. In the design and delivery of Māori-medium initial teacher education, acknowledge and enable the specialist philosophical approach required by some parts of Māori society.  These include iwi who seek teachers in their tribal districts to support their tribal aspirations.  Another group are kura kaupapa Māori that adhere to Te Aho Matua.
  4. Ensure all initial teacher education programmes include te reo Māori and tikanga Māori so that graduating teachers who teach in English medium education are aware of, are able to promote, and are positive towards te reo Māori, tikanga Māori and the Reference Group's vision and goals.

Māori-medium beginning teachers

  1. Incorporate and reflect best practice in mentoring, support and professional learning and development programmes for Māori-medium beginning teachers and their mentors.

Professional learning and development

  1. Develop two Māori language sabbatical programmes; one targeted to Māori-medium teachers to enable them to address identified language development needs. The other programme developed specifically for Māori medium principals to enable them to develop and strengthen leadership in Māori-medium education.
  2. Ensure that Māori-medium professional learning and development is focused on ongoing language development, including:
    • Māori-medium education, iwi and stakeholder involvement in decisions about the professional learning and development that is required.
    • Developing professional learning and development specifically for Māori-medium that is delivered to teachers at a similar level of language proficiency and that includes methods to progressively shift learners to higher language proficiency.
    • Developing intensive language programmes specifically for teachers to achieve higher levels of proficiency.
    • Developing te reo Māori proficiency programmes specifically for support staff.
  1. Enhance professional learning and development for kura and school leaders that is tailored to the needs of Māori-medium education settings.
  2. Develop mentoring programmes for Māori-medium teachers that:
    • Are targeted to teachers in their first four years of teaching.
    • Include training and professional development of mentors specifically for Māori-medium education.
    • Provide for adequate resourcing and infrastructure support to the initial teacher education provider and host school.
  1. Increase options for releasing Māori-medium teachers for professional learning and development, including provision for:
    • Resourcing needed to release teachers.
    • Ways of developing an appropriately skilled workforce to provide teacher relief.
  1. Ensure kura are able to develop school wide and school specific professional learning and development.
  2. Enable professional learning and development that is philosophically aligned to iwi or kura kaupapa Māori that adhere to Te Aho Matua.

Recognition and reward

  1. Recognise and reward excellent skills and practices of the Māori-medium education workforce.
  2. Review the Māori Immersion Teacher Allowance (MITA), including the criteria for receiving MITA and strengthening its focus on language proficiency.

Strong evidence base to support Māori-medium teaching and learning

  1. Develop a strong evidence base to support excellent teaching and continuous improvement in Māori-medium, through:
    • Developing and promulgating good practice examples of teaching and learning in Māori-medium. This will include clear specification of what 'learner achievement' means in Māori-medium.
    • Developing and promulgating good practice examples for Māori-medium initial teacher education, including developing professional standards for Māori-medium teachers that include kaupapa Māori pedagogy. 
    • Developing Māori-medium teacher graduate standards that include a definition of what 'effective teacher' means in Māori-medium.
    • Identifying and specifying teacher registration requirements that are unique to, and required by, Māori-medium education.
  1. Establish a Māori medium education workforce plan that:
    • Identifies sufficient numbers of practitioners with high language proficiency and appropriate qualifications needed for all stages of education from early childhood to year 13.
    • Establishes a methodology for accurately assessing and planning for demand for Māori-medium education.
    • Establishes ongoing monitoring of Māori medium teacher supply to ensure it meets demand.
    • Establishes a research programme to develop greater understanding of where and how Māori-medium education workforce capability needs to be strengthened.
  1. The findings of the following Ministry of Education reviews are taken into account in this work programme:
    • The review of Resource Teacher Māori, focusing on the redesign of the service to support resourcing and the quality provision of teaching and learning of, and through, te reo Māori; and
    • Regular Ministry of Education reviews of TeachNZ Scholarships to ensure they are appropriately targeted to attract and support Māori-medium student teachers.
  2. The Reference Group, or a similar group, works with the Ministry to support the implementation of this work programme, including reviewing progress within one year and recommending any changes required.

Suggestions for immediate action

Although the Group presents the recommendations as a coherent work programme, some critical actions must be started as soon as possible.  

The Group recommends that the Ministry extends its engagement with iwi, and other key stakeholders such as Ngā Kura ā Iwi and Te Rūnanga Nui o ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori, to particularly focus on strengthening the Māori medium education workforce. It is expected that implementation of this report's recommendations would enhance and build on the Ministry's agreements with iwi and national Māori organisations. It is not intended that these recommendations would supersede arrangements already in place.

The current definitions of Māori-medium education (including immersion levels) need urgent review. This work lays the foundations for implementing the other recommended actions. A new definition of Māori-medium education is proposed in section 3.

Substantial system-wide changes are needed in Māori-medium initial teacher education. This is the area where change is most needed, because Māori-medium initial teacher education sets the pedagogy, skills and standards necessary for the development of effective teachers. Initial teacher education is a vital building block for Māori-medium education. The extent of change required is reflected in the 10 action areas proposed. The Group recommends as a priority that collaborative models of provision, including criteria for standards of delivery, are developed.

The support and retention of Māori-medium beginning teachers must be addressed urgently, as only a fifth stay after three years. This attrition rate is considerably higher than for the state teacher workforce as a whole. Better understanding of why such a high proportion of Māori-medium beginning teachers leave is needed. The Māori-medium teacher workforce is not being replenished and new talent is being lost from this sector. With moves to strengthen links between initial teacher education providers, beginning teachers and schools, it is particularly timely that a concerted effort is made to incorporate and reflect best practice in mentoring, support and professional learning and development programmes for Māori-medium beginning teachers.

Some other actions should be able to be implemented quickly as they fit well with Ministry work underway or planned. These are:

  • Reviewing the Māori Immersion Teacher Allowance (MITA), including the criteria for receiving MITA and strengthening its focus on language proficiency. This review will need to be consistent with the review of current definitions of Māori-medium education.
  • Defining 'disposition to teach' for Māori-medium.
  • Ensuring that Māori-medium professional learning and development is focused on ongoing Māori language development.
  • Increasing options for releasing Māori-medium teachers for professional learning and development.
  • Developing and promulgating good practice examples of teaching and learning in Māori-medium education.
  • Developing Māori-medium teacher graduate standards.
  • Identifying and specifying teacher registration requirements that are unique to, and required by, Māori-medium education.
  • Establishing a Māori-medium education workforce plan.
  • Promulgating a collaborative, inter-sectoral approach with Māori-medium education participants as reflected by the make up of the Reference Group.

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