EEPSE Pilot study findings

Publication Details

Auckland Uniservices and Poutama Pounamu were contracted to undertake the Enhancing Effective Practice in Special Education Pilot study in the school and Kura Kaupapa Māori settings respectively. The Pilot study tested a range of research methodologies and gathered indicators of effectiveness.

Author(s): Dr Patricia O'Brien, Auckland UniServices Limited and Mere Berryman, Poutama Pounamu.

Date Published: 2004

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Indicators of Effectiveness

Auckland Uniservices and Poutama Pounamu were contracted to undertake the Enhancing Effective Practice in Special Education Pilot study in the school and Kura Kaupapa Māori settings respectively. The Pilot study tested a range of research methodologies and gathered indicators of effectiveness.

Auckland Uniservices, led by Dr. Patricia O'Brien extrapolated the following indicators of effectiveness from the 21 Pilot study schools:

  • Effective pedagogy for students with special needs requires effective professional development for all teachers and specialist staff.
  • Effective practice requires collaborative planning between those teachers, specialists and family members important in the life of the student.
  • Effective assessment involves knowledge of strategies involving families and working within a team.
  • Adapted curriculum and adapted teaching strategies need to align with student need for outcomes to be effective and successful.
  • Peer support systems for students with special needs should be optimised within the overall school culture.
  • Outcomes are life orientated incorporating functional curriculum that blends academic and social skills.
  • Specialist support is delivered within the context of the overall goals for the student with special needs.
  • School settings need to promote policies and structures that are flexible in accommodating difference.

The Pilot study also identified five key characteristics for effective Professional development and learning:

  • Professional learning opportunities must be based on immediate needs and build upon existing knowledge.
  • Teachers become facilitators and begin owning the process of professional learning and development.
  • Support to meet the needs of diverse learners is required.
  • Support for teachers needs to be built into school wide planning for raising student achievement.
  • Collaborative planning leads to goals that require ongoing monitoring, adaptation and review.

Poutama Pounamu Education Research and Development Centre, led by Mere Berryman found that a number of common features or general characteristics emerged from the study of four Kura Kaupapa Māori:

  • Māori language and cultural values which were held in the highest regard, supported relationships and interactions and were strongly evident and common to each of the kura.
  • An emphasis and priority in education was driven by a model that included te Ao Māori (the Māori world), whakapapa (genealogy and other connections and networks), wānanga (teaching and learning), and Te Ao Pākehā (the Pākehā world). These elements when integrated in theory and in practice by the whānau resulted in effective educational practices for all concerned.
  • A collective vision and belief for all students, that students would fulfil their potential culturally, socially and academically was held by participants in each of the kura.
  • People in these kura believed they could make a difference and culturally they were obligated to do so.
  • The belief in their vision for students and their agentic positioning resulted in strong collaborative relationships and effective partnerships that ensured participants' ideas were represented, and benefits and legitimation ensued for all involved.
  • Education and special education was viewed in a holistic manner that included both mainstream and Māori perspectives and was aimed at and prioritised to include all students, including students who were yet to arrive (kōkanga reo and primary) and students once they had left (kaupapa Māori and other available secondary schools).
  • Availability and training in appropriate student assessments were recognised to be essential and at the same time a challenge to all four kura however in this regard three of the kura provided different yet innovative and effective assessment programmes that covered a range of areas.
  • Effective and balanced working relationships existed in each of the kura between parents/whānau and educational professionals, in which each party acknowledged and supported the expertise of the other and all were seen as part of the education team.
  • Collaborative and culturally competent approaches to understanding and resolving problems were evident in each site. The students themselves, their families and their educators all brought their own expertise to defining not only the problem but also the solutions. Problems were then responded to collaboratively. Educators in these kura faced dual lines of accountability.
  • Their cultural obligations and accountabilities were as strong as or drove their professional accountabilities. Researchers also faced similar dual lines of accountability.
  • The research showed that although these kura faced many different challenges it was knowledge from te ao Māori (and sometimes, also te ao Pākehā) and the collective response to problem solving that did or would see them through.
  • National and international literature and the results from this study all provide researched examples of inclusion that result from a more collective and collaborative approach to participation and problem solving that is based on what people can do together rather than what they can't do alone.
  • From a Māori worldview there are no individual benefits but rather collective ones, where interdependence is just as valid as independence. These collective benefits provided a platform for generating effective practices that enhanced and sustained the cultural, social and learning needs of all who participated

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