Thursday, 9 July 2015

Indigenous Knowledge and Culturally responsive Pedagogy [Activity 13]

When I first started my teaching degree in 2009, indigenous knowledge and culturally responsive pedagogy was undefined for me.  I believed everyone learned at their own pace and if you struggled to learn, it was due to a disability or lack of motivation.   It wasn't until I attended a lecture through university that clearly defined what culture means.  I now understand it to mean a way of life, not your ethnic background.  I used to say that, I am Cook Island Maori but was brought up in a very sheltered lifestyle, where knowledge was handed to you through books, TV, interactions with adults and school.  From here I realised I was making a sweeping generalisation that all Cook Island Maori people are brought up rough around the edges.  But in fact, my culture was simply different to other peoples cultures.  Professor Russell Bishop discusses an example of learning achievements in the Maori community and people believing that the poor results in this area are due to the Maori people themselves (, 2015). This is exactly what I used to do.

From this I made sure my teaching practice was based on a deeper understanding of the learner.  Not solely on their assessment data, but based on Mason Durie's Whare Tapa Wha model. (Durie, 1998). Really getting to know the learner and understand their own unique culture without any bias or predetermined criteria.  Allowing them to approach their learning in a way that suits them and letting me gain an insight into how they learn, and ways that I can promote further learning (, 2015).

Durie, M. (1998). Whaiora: Maōri Health Development. Oxford University Press.,. (2015). A culturally responsive pedagogy of relations | EDtalks. Retrieved 9 July 2015, from

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