Cultural competency to strengthen teachers

  • Pita Sharples

Associate Minister of Education Dr Pita Sharples says he is excited by recommendations from the Maori Youth Council relating to professional development of teachers, because they align with his own views and work he has been doing.

“I have been developing a programme called ‘Tataiako’ for nearly two years now, of cultural competencies for teachers of Maori learners, and I am hoping to make an announcement quite soon,” said Dr Sharples.

“‘Tataiako’ extends the principle behind the very successful ‘Kotahitanga’ programme, which helps teachers to engage better with Maori students and their whanau and communities, to make their teaching more effective.

“Instead of ongoing in-service training, Tataiako aims to see that basic teacher training equips all teachers to teach Maori learners effectively,” he said.

“Tataiako simply makes explicit for Maori what all learners and their families would expect from professionally trained teachers,” said Dr Sharples.

“This approach will be phased in, in co-operation with the teaching profession, and subject to review with a view to mandating these competencies in future. I made the decision not to make these competencies compulsory from the outset.

“It is not correct to say that ‘Tataiako’ will make Maori language compulsory for all teachers. However, I think one outcome of Tataiako is likely to be more use of te reo Maori in schools, as it is on National Radio, for example, in Parliament, and in many other aspects of New Zealand life,” said Dr Sharples.