Rongohia te Hau: Effective support for culturally responsive teaching
3. Co-constructing a continuum of effective teaching practice
“Because we’ve co-constructed it, because it’s based on what Māori children told us would work for them, that continuum helps keep the teachers and teaching safe.”
Professor Mere Berryman
Director, Poutama Pounamu Research and Development Centre
Specialist professional development expertise is required to lead this process in the first instance. Professor Berryman and Expert Partner, Therese Ford, from Poutama Pounamu, demonstrate the process of working with both leaders and teachers to develop a continuum of effective practice.
The Mana Ōrite partnership process designed by Poutama Pounamu demonstrates expertise in each step of a respectful change process that is respectful of everyone’s mana.
Te Kotahitanga professional development was highlighted as exceptional in the Teacher professional learning and development best evidence synthesis because of the rarity of such high impact intervention with cross-curricular reach.
Rongohia te Hau is a key strategy in enabling culturally responsive improvement in teaching and learning across the curriculum.
The Rongohia te Hau findings are an invaluable resource, but for the findings to inform more effective and more culturally responsive pedagogy, teachers need expert support in the challenging change process that follows.
A shared focus on what works
Professor Berryman explains the process of developing teachers’ proficiency in carrying out structured observations of the teaching practice of their colleagues:
"So it really keeps us talking about the pedagogy and not the person, and it really keeps us focused on what works, but it also means that we have a shared language and a shared understanding of what we’re looking for."
While Rongohia te Hau initially draws on the use of survey tools, the improvement process that follows focuses on deepening teachers’ understandings of the evidence about effective teaching. Assessment conversations inform rather than displace the focus on teaching. Every step of the way is informed by learner voice.
Find out more
Berryman, M., Ford, T., Nevin, A., & SooHoo, S. (2015). Culturally responsive contexts: Establishing relationships for inclusion. International Journal of Special Education, 30(3), 39-51.
Education Review Office. (2016). School Evaluation Indicators: Effective practice for improvement and learner success. Wellington: Education Review Office.
See links to School Evaluation Indicators: Domain 4: Responsive curriculum, effective teaching and opportunity to learn. pp. 29 – 32.
The co-construction approach led by the Poutama Pounamu experts reflects the findings across best evidence syntheses and recent systematic reviews on effective professional development.
Timperley, H., Wilson, A., Barrar, H., & Fung. I. (2007). Teacher professional learning and development: Best evidence synthesis iteration. Wellington: Ministry of Education.
Robinson, V., Hohepa, M., & Lloyd, C. (2009). School leadership and student outcomes: Identifying what works and why: Best evidence synthesis iteration [BES]. Wellington: Ministry of Education.
- Importantly, the engagement of school leaders in the co-construction and the development of a continuum of effective teaching practice for culturally responsive teaching, also provides leadership development opportunities crucial to improved student outcomes.
- Of all leadership activities, leadership active participation and engagement in teacher professional learning and development was found to be the activity that made the most difference to valued student outcomes in the quantitative findings of the New Zealand School leadership and student outcomes best evidence synthesis.
Cordingley, P., Higgins, S., Greany, T., Crisp, B., Araviaki, E., Coe, R., & Johns, P. (2020). Developing great leadership of continuing professional development and learning. UK: CUREE.
- These researchers highlight the importance of professional development focussing on student wellbeing as well as achievement and call for more attention to teacher wellbeing in the change process.
Poekert, P., Swaffield, S., Demir, E., & Wright, S. (2020). Leadership for professional learning towards educational equity: a systematic literature review. Professional Development in Education, 46(4), 541-56.
- These reviewers concluded that ‘When teachers participate in leadership development that maintains a critical focus on social justice, they can acquire skills to empower and amplify student voice, rather than reinforcing the structural inequalities that have long marginalised students on the basis of ability, race, language or culture’ (Poekert et al, 2020, p. 552). They reported a high weight of evidence challenging the danger of using ‘culturally blind’ approaches to the use of data to inform policy and practice.