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

Supporting Māori learners

Teacher meeting.

Teaching in a way that is responsive to the diversity in our classrooms has the most profound effect on our learners. Strong school–whānau relationships, culturally responsive classrooms, and the deliberate use of effective teaching strategies can help Māori learners succeed as Māori. 

Supporting Māori learners with literacy

“Cultural responsiveness is much more than introducing myths or metaphors into class. It means interacting with their families to truly understand their reality; it means understanding the socio-political history and how it impacts on classroom life; it means challenging personal beliefs and actions; and, it means changing practices to engage all students in their learning and make the classroom a positive learning place for all students.

Culturally competent teachers are able to use the learner’s culture/s as a building block to learn and teach. They understand how to utilise the learner’s culture/s to aid the teaching and learning process, as well as to facilitate relationships and professional growth.”

Bishop et al., 2007, in Tataiako – Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners (PDF)

There are a range of resources and readings to help us begin to understand and use appropriate pedagogies that will enhance learning for Māori, and all learners, when engaging with literacy in The New Zealand Curriculum.

Questions to think about in your school context

  • How could you effectively gather and use student and whanau voice and experience to inform your practice? 
  • How can encompass a broader view of literacy and value Te Reo language in the classroom? 
  • In what ways do you see "Māori achieving success as Māori" in your classroom? 
  • What literacy and language strategies does your department, team or syndicate use to build culturally responsive contexts for Māori students within your teaching and learning programmes?


Snapshot 1: Ngā hau e wha
This snapshot, from the Senior Secondary English curriculum guide,  describes how a school used close reading of Māori and Pasifika poetry to address the diverse needs and interests of its students.

Jane's story
Jane's story is a great example of how changing the way your class is run can have a dramatic effect on both the students and the teacher. Jane, a Year 9 English teacher, talks about how she has encouraged her Year 9 class to take ownership of their learning. Through the shared learning relationships students learnt to contribute to their own learning and the learning of others. They built a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities teachers and learners and how to work effectively as a group.

Literacy, achievement and success: Reading the world in order to read the word

A collaboration between Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi and the Ministry of Education, this project aimed to identify the transforming thinking, actions and practices that contributed to improved literacy and educational achievement. 

General Resources

Ka Hikitia
Ka Hikitia – Accelerating Success 2013–2017 is a Ministry of Education strategy, designed to rapidly change how the education system performs so that all Māori students gain the skills, qualifications and knowledge they need to enjoy and achieve education success as Māori.

Te Kōtahitanga: Raising Māori student achievement
An initiative developed to improve teaching strategies and the effectiveness of teachers to increase the engagement and academic achievement of Māori students within mainstream secondary schools. As part of this project, an Effective Teaching Profile has been developed, giving teachers an inquiry framework from which to develop a Culturally Responsive Pedagogy.

Te Mana Kōrero
The Te Mana Kōrero series has been developed by the Ministry of Education to help teachers focus on quality teaching practices that can better engage Māori students in learning and improving academic and social outcomes. The film clips from Te Mana Kōrero, along with key questions and reflections are available from the  Te Mana Kōrero kete.

Te Mangōroa
Te Mangōroa is a resource for English-medium schools. It is a portal to stories, reports, statistics, and reviews from across TKI and other sites that reflect effective practices to support Māori learners to achieve education success as Māori.

Te Tere Auraki: Māori students' success in English-medium
Te Tere Auraki is a Ministry of Education professional development strategy focusing on improving outcomes for Māori students in English-medium schools. This strategy supports four main Te Tere Auraki projects: Te Kotahitanga, Te Kauhua, Ako Panuku, and Te Mana Kōrero.

Effecting change for Māori students(Word 48KB)
A summary that starts to align NZ Curriculum with Ka Hikitia and Te Kotahitanga.

Evaluation of the Te Kauhua Māori Mainstream Pilot Project (2004) 
Te Kauhua was an exploratory professional development pilot. It provided schools with the opportunity, in partnership with their Māori community, to explore professional development approaches that enabled teachers to improve outcomes for Māori students and work more effectively with Māori whānau achievement in mainstream settings.

To extend your thinking

NZC Update 7.

NZC Update 7 - Te Kotahitanga (Published April 2011)

This Update focuses on findings from Te Kotahitanga and highlights how this programme is producing positive gains for Māori students by influencing leadership, teaching, and learning in participating schools.

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Updated on: 19 Jun 2015