Te Kotahitanga DVD

Publication Details

Te Kotahitanga: establishing a culturally responsive pedagogy of relations.
BES Case 7: Teacher Professional Learning and Development [Full Report].
BES Case 7: Teacher Professional Learning and Development [Pages 259-264].

Author(s): DVD Presented by Adrienne Alton-Lee (PhD), Chief Education Advisor, Best Evidence Synthesis Programme, Ministry of Education

Date Published: Released live on Education Counts 3 November 2009

BES (Iterative Best Evidence Synthesis) Programme
This report is available as a download (please refer to the 'Downloads' inset box).  For links to related publications/ information that may be of interest please refer to the 'Where to Find Out More' inset box or visit the BES (Iterative Best Evidence Synthesis) Programme.



Te Kotahitanga has been developed, implemented, evaluated and extended by a team that  has been led by Professor Russell Bishop, Assistant Dean, Māori Education, University of Waikato and Dr Mere Berryman, Kairangahau Research and Manager, Poutama Pounamu. The programme helps teachers to understand  the impact of their discursive positioning in terms of their relationships with Māori students and the classroom pedagogy they provide in secondary classrooms in New Zealand.

This DVD presentation and discussion provides information about the critical importance of Te Kotahitanga. It discusses the change achieved by the programme, and why this change is critical for Māori students. The DVD highlights the importance of cycles of research and development in achieving changes in achievement for all Rangatahi.

The DVD highlights the significance of Te Kotahitanga. The programme turns around an entrenched pattern of under-serving of Māori students. This achievement is in the  wider context of few effective professional development programmes being available at the secondary school level. This programme also responds to the very big challenge of working  effectively across subject areas.

This work is significant not just because of the big gains  in student achievement, but also because the programme demonstrates that  schools can change classroom practices in ways that reduce differential disadvantageous provision for Māori. This change is being achieved in the context of Harker's (2007) analysis across 60 schools, which showed a moderate negative effect for the interaction between NZ  schooling and Māori ethnicity over and above effects accounted for through  socioeconomic status of family or school-mix.

Further background and  links to Te Kotahitanga case study

As  shown in the Te Kotahitanga case study (Case 7),in the Teacher Professional Learning and Development Best Evidence Synthesis, the programme achieved dramatic  changes for senior student qualifications in relation to a comparison group. The case sets out, in sections related to the over-all findings of the BES, the features of Te Kotahitanga as a professional development programme.  While fewer than a third of Māori students achieved NCEA level 1 in the Te Kotahitanga schools in 2005, almost half  achieved NCEA level 1 in 2006. Notably the programme was also very effective for Pasifika students and benefited Pakeha students. There was variation in  gains made according to the strength of the implementation in each school. The  highest impact occurred in a school that had a shift from 19 % of Māori only achieving NCEA level 1 to 63% gaining NCEA level 1. In schools where implementation has been weak there have been subsequent improvements although lifts in achievement have varied according to the effectiveness of the professional development.

Recent announcements have been made about the expansion of Te Kotahitanga into 17 more secondary schools in 2010.

Key  leadership themes within Te Kotahitanga include:

  • Ownership of the leadership role, including the promotion of shared or distributed leadership,
  • Leadership that uses evidence to understand why change is needed,
  • Leadership that ensures teachers know how to, are prepared to, and can promote and support more effective classroom pedagogy,
  • Leaders who understand the importance of their own relationships with people and know how to work with others to develop the capacity of people and systems in order  to effect classroom change and school reform, and 
  • Leadership that develops specific, measurable goals and uses evidence both formatively and  summatively to monitor progress towards each goal and to spread the reform to  others.

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