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Literacy Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Creating a supportive learning environment

“Learning is inseparable from its social and cultural context. Students learn best when they feel accepted, enjoy positive relationships with their fellow students and teachers, and when they are active, visible members of the learning community” 

Ministry of Education, 2007, p. 34.

Classroom environments that support literacy learning are language-rich, vibrant, interactive, fun, purposeful, safe, supportive, and challenging. Such environments value the diverse knowledge and experiences students bring with them.

Culture counts

“Culture counts - knowing, respecting and valuing who students are, where they come from, and building on what they bring with them makes a difference to both teaching and learning” 

Ministry of Education, 2008, p. 20.

One way for teachers to make ‘culture count’ is to include a balance of ‘mirror’ and ‘window’ texts in their programmes. Mirror texts reflect students’ own culture and experience while window texts give insight into unfamiliar ideas, perspectives, and experiences (Gangi, 2008).

Another way is to always encourage students to make connections to their own prior learning and experience. One further way is to treat students’ linguistic knowledge (such as knowledge of their first language) as a valued resource.

Helping Māori students achieve their potential

An important challenge for all New Zealand schools is to address current disparities in outcomes for Māori students.

These Māori concepts or principles are vitally important:

  • ako – effective and reciprocal teaching and learning relationships where everyone is a learner and a teacher
  • manaakitanga – the care for students as culturally located people above all else
  • mana motuhake – the care by teachers for the academic success and performance of their students
  • whakawhanaungatanga – the nurturing of mutually respectful and collaborative relationships between all parties around student learning.

Attending to these principles is essential if Māori students are to feel truly valued and therefore become meaningfully engaged in classroom learning activities.

Published on: 08 Jan 2018