Having attended APPA’s breakfast seminar yesterday where a panel provoked the audience to reflect upon “where are we with educating Maori kids?” and “why aren’t we doing better?” I certainly went away with some thinking to do. What caught my attention the most was the idea that in many schools, our’s included we measure the success of a Maori student’s progress by measuring them in a very “white” space. We want them to be the same as every other student in our school—literate and numerate—this seems ok on the surface. However we should also want them to be successful in their ‘maoriness”. We want them to be confident connected actively involved lifelong learners as Maori kids, (this sounds familiar). The trouble at the moment is we don’t focus on this, we focus on where they are as readers, writers and number-crunchers.
My thoughts are that for all kids—maori and non-maori, the narrowness of being measured in literacy and numeracy is exactly that—narrow. It does not tell the whole story—it does not reflect the student’s capacity to live in the real world. What we measure flourishes—we must balance our measurement structures! Lots of food for thought!
My next step is to talk to our maori kids—what does a successful maori kid look like? I will be interested in what they tell me.