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Restoring honour: Māori students and a Māori teacher reflect

Renée Gilgen

2012 Aotearoa New Zealand

My return to classroom teaching in 2009 served as a “wake-up” call to my own assumptions of how I viewed my identity “as Māori” and as a Māori teacher. I was challenged by disruptive behaviours directed towards me by a small group of Māori students in our English medium mainstream classroom. I had assumed that being Māori would make it easier for the Māori students to relate to me as their classroom teacher. Together with these students, I introduced a weekly hui (meeting) process that served to engage us in a power sharing approach to respond to these challenging behaviours. Weekly hui provided an opportunity to foster reciprocal listening and learning. This article draws from a qualitative research study which included a retrospective analysis of hui discussions and decisions throughout 2009, and of Māori student reflections of their experiences with classroom hui. The findings from this analysis suggest that the weekly hui contributed to improved classroom relationships and increased learning engagement for these Māori students.

Māori, English-medium mainstream, culturally responsive pedagogy, relationships, inclusion.