Thursday, May 25, 2017


What is culturally responsive pedagogy?Culturally responsive pedagogy is defined by Gay (2001, p.106) as “using the cultural characteristics, experiences and perspectives as conduits for effective teaching”. It is reflected in five elements including knowledge about cultural diversity, the culturally integrated content in the curriculum, the development of the learning community, the ability to communicate with culturally diverse students and culturally responsive delivery of instruction (Gay, 2001).

Bishop in Edtalks (2012) suggests that a teacher whose pedagogy is culturally responsive challenges the “deficit thinking” of student educability and have agentic thinking, believing that they have skills and knowledge that can help all of their students to achieve, no matter what, in this “A culturally responsive pedagogy”

Cultural Intelligence
Before you can deliver a culturally responsive pedagogy, you need to know where you are at in terms of cultural intelligence. Bucher (2008) identified nine megaskills that contribute to the cultural intelligence including
Understanding My Cultural Identity — Understanding how we think about ourselves as well as the people and ways of life with which we identify.
Checking Cultural Lenses — Recognising the ways in which cultural backgrounds differ and how they influence thinking, behaviour and assumptions.
Global Consciousness — Moving across boundaries and seeing the world from multiple perspectives.
Shifting Perspectives — Putting ourselves in others’ shoes and cultures.
Intercultural Communication — Exchanging ideas and feelings and creating leanings with people from diverse cultural backgrounds.
Managing Cross-Cultural Conflict — Dealing with conflict among people from differing cultural backgrounds in an effective and constructive manner.
Multicultural Teaming — Working with others from diverse cultural backgrounds to accomplish certain tasks.
Dealing with Bias — Recognising bias in ourselves and others and responding to it effectively.
Understanding the Dynamics of Power — Grasping how power and culture interrelate and the effect of power on how we see the world and relate to others.Use this Cultural Intelligence (CQ) Self-Evaluation form to self assess your cultural intelligence. This should help you identify the gaps and what you want to change in terms of cultural actions.

Activity 4 : Indigenous knowledge and cultural responsiveness in my practiceCreate a blog post where you first share your critical understanding of indigenous knowledge and cultural responsiveness. Then, critically evaluate how your practice or your school’s practice has been informed by indigenous knowledge and culturally responsive pedagogy in two of the following areas (ideally you would be able to evaluate one that is done well, and another that would benefit from improvement):
vision, mission, and core values
communication methods,
planning and assessment,
learning activities,
school-wide activities,

Following these two steps may help:
Step 1: Understanding indigenous knowledge and cultural responsiveness
After reading the above class notes, you might find the mentioned definitions resonate with your understanding of culturally responsive pedagogy. Or if you have another definition(s) or a different ways of viewing this cultural aspect, explain them.
Then use the definitions and add in your own critique so they can act as your own cultural framework.
Step 2: Selecting which two of the following areas you will focus on for discussion. Preferably, one that is done well and another that needs improving:
vision, mission, and core values
communication methods,
planning and assessment,
learning activities,
school-wide activities,

There are three evaluation tools that you can choose either of them to use to reflect on your practice or your school practice in terms of the cultural responsive pedagogy. The first one is a set of questions adapted from from Te Toi Tupu’s (n.d.) resource, “Pasifika: Participation, Engagement, Achievement tool”, the second one is Unitec’s Poutama and the third one is the Mauri model.
You can also provide your own evaluation framework apart from the two mentioned above as long as it helps you to identify where your practice or your school’s practice is at and what is next.
The adapted “Pasifika: Participation, Engagement, Achievement” tool:
Select the questions that relevant to your identified areas, to guide your thoughts in evaluating your practice OR your school's practice:
How do you plan activities and lessons to support diverse cultural backgrounds and languages?
How do you use meaningful instructions that link to the students’ prior experience/backgrounds?
How does the school involve parents, families and communities in supporting their students' and the school's activities?
How does the school ensure its vision, mission and core values reflect cultural responsiveness?
How does the school ensure that students maintain the integrity of their own cultural values and identity?
How does the school communicate (using verbal, non verbal or symbolic representations) and create conditions where students can express their identities regardless of their ethnic background?
How do the school curriculum and resources reflect content from a variety of cultures and ethnic groups?
How does the school use achievement information and involve families in planning, and monitoring progress and achievement?
(Adapted from from Te Toi Tupu’s (n.d.) resource, “Pasifika: Participation, Engagement, Achievement tool”)

The Unitec’s Poutama tool
At Unitec, the embedding of mātauranga Māori is one of the characteristics of its Living Curriculum. The Poutama is the stepped patterns of woven tukutuku panels that act as a metaphor for scaffolding knowledge (Unitec Glossary). The Unitec’s Poutama shows the three-stage progression to consider the alignment between the Matauranga Maori and the Living Curriculum (Unitec, n.d.).At the base of Unitec’s Poutama are different areas of the Unitec’s Living Curriculum. You can replace the areas with the one you have identified and aim to focus your discussion to. Reflect on your practice or your school’s practice, try to answer which stage the practice is at the progression ladder and which stage it should reach next.

The Mauri Model
Mauri is considered the life force, “a central place in informing Māori, how and why our lives take the forms they do” (Pohatu, 2011, p.1). There are different states of being of Mauri include Mauri Moe, Mauri Oho and Mauri Ora. Pohatu (2011) explained the meaning of the different Mauri states as follows:
Mauri Moe has two levels: first level is inactive state which can be thought of as “being dead” and the second level is proactive potential which can be described as “sleep” state.
Mauri Oho is the state of being proactive, being awaken from the Mauri Moe.
Mauri Ora is the state of being actively engaged.
When applying the principles of Mauri for the purpose of self evaluation, you could consider which Mauri states you are being at in terms of cultural responsiveness, for example, if you are of Mauri Moe (sleep state), you may listen to students’ cultural story but do not really respond to their cultural needs. This Mauri Model is adapted from Pohatu’s (2011) work which has some examples of the actions and expressions that can be used for the relevant states.

For further resources: Ministry of Education on home-school partnerships provides a number of useful links that shows some examples of how schools address indigenous knowledge and culturally responsive pedagogy.

Cowie, B., Otrel-Cass, K., Glynn, T., & Kara, H., et al.(2011).Culturally responsive pedagogy and assessment in primary science classrooms: Whakamana tamariki. Wellington: Teaching Learning Research Initiative. Retrieved from
Teachers can create culturally responsive pathways for science learning by incorporating children’s and communities’ funds of knowledge into the curriculum.
• Culturally responsive science teachers at times position themselves as learners so that students, and their families and wha¯nau, can contribute their expertise.
• Culturally responsive science classrooms support diverse ways for children to develop, express and share a cumulative understanding of science
- Teaching and learning science will be enriched if teachers build bridges and create opportunities to connect the classroom curriculum with children’s and communities’ lived experiences beyond school. 

• Teachers and students need to create an inclusive and respectful classroom culture that welcomes and responds to outside expertise to contribute to collective sense making in science.
• Learning and assessment in science need to provide and privilege diverse ways for children to express, develop and gain feedback on their growing knowledge and expertise.

The teachers found that when they invited students and their wha¯nau to contribute their funds of knowledge and lived experiences from their homes and communities, the students were able to utilise this rich resource in their science learning. The funds of knowledge that were made available by children and their families included those based on everyday experiences with natural phenomena, cultural legends and family stories, as well as standard science explanations. Sharing this knowledge opened up new spaces where exploring and explaining natural phenomena was something that could be engaged in at school and by the community. Student engagement increased and learning was made more meaningful and equitable.

Teachers seeking out, affirming and incorporating student and community funds of knowledge into the curriculum sometimes challenged traditional classroom power−knowledge relationships. When students and communities had greater knowledge, the classroom culture had to be such that students and teachers were comfortable with teachers positioning themselves as learners. The teachers were initially tentative about this, but they quickly realised their students were more than willing to support them. The teachers found it helpful to think of this responsive process as reflecting the principles and cultural responsibilities of ako (in this context, a responsive and reciprocal process, through which both teaching and learning roles are shared) and tuakana teina in action (the more informed and more skilled teaching the less-informed and less skilled).

Teachers need to be seen out in the community by the students and families. A person who is visible in the community is more likely to be respected as having a commitment to, or investment in, the community (he kanohi kitea).
Culturally responsive pedagogy thrives when teachers ensure that students have multiple and diverse opportunities to develop, express, and receive feedback on their understanding of science. Ideally, these opportunities accumulate and enable students to elaborate their science ideas by bringing different experiences and knowledge into dialogue. Culturally responsive pedagogy also thrives when teachers privilege oral and visual presentations (both individual and group) alongside and in addition to individual written presentations. Dramatisation, the production of a physical model or artefact and video are also effective means for communicating, and for receiving feedback on ideas. For many students from Ma¯ ori and Pasifika backgrounds, teaching other students younger or less skilled than themselves offers a culturally authentic opportunity to show and share what they have learnt.

Edtalks.(2012, September 23). A culturally responsive pedagogy of relations. [video file].Retrieved from
- Maori achievement - educational disparities and are common with indigenous culture around the world.
- As a society we need to understand the need to address these educational disparities
- The accumulation of achievement gap on a yearly basis is in fact accumulated to a point where you can see it as a debt. It is owed by the society to those people who have not been able to achieve to the level they should have been able to do.
- Maori were guaranteed to benefit of being citizens of the new society on signing of the treaty.
- Research in Te Kotahitanga, it is teachers the key to make difference for the learners. Need to weave together all the context in the classroom so that Maori can bring their knowledge to the learning conversation. Level of engagement brings about improved attendance and achievement.
- Teachers on their own are not enough. Need support from the school - time and energy. Highly qualified and proficient professional development provided for teachers.
- Need funding and support to keep this sustained in schools - small amounts will not do it.
- Supportive teachers make the difference - i do not believe that I need to draw upon deficit explanations - will challenge the deficit explanations.
Work collaboratively and cooperatively to make a difference
Key things as teachers:1. care for maori students as maori and have high expectations
2. prepared for maori to be maori
3. create a learning context where young maori draw upon own funds of knowledge and bring to classroom
4. manage classroom in such a way where the pedagogy they use promotes interactions with young maori people which provide them with feedback and feedforward
5. Negotiate a co construction of learning where learners among learners prevails.
6. Teachers using a range of strategies and effectively
7. Use evidence of students performance to guide where they take their teachers

Students know about their outcomes in a formative way so they know where to take their learning.
Teachers create a context in the classroom that is responsive to the child, the culture of the child. It is relationship centred education. Relationships are paramount to the educational performance.

Savage,C, Hindleb, R., Meyerc,L., Hyndsa,A., Penetitob, W. & Sleeterd, C.(2011) Culturally responsive pedagogies in the classroom: indigenous student experiences across the curriculum .Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 39(3), 183–198: (Available to download from Unitec Library)
- Achieving equity in diverse schools is a global challenge, and educational disparity takes on different forms depending on context. In New Zealand, disparities exist between the indigenous M¯aori and New Zealand Europeans whose culture dominates the education system (Penetito, 2010; Shields, Bishop, & Mazawi, 2005).
- A lack of connection between the culture of the school and student has been associatedwith low engagement in the absence of culturally responsive practices (Castagno & Brayboy, 2008; Cothran & Ennis, 2000). For M¯aori, low expectations and student alienation play out through high suspension rates, over-representation in special education, low educational attainment, and leaving school early with fewer qualifications than students from dominant cultural groups (Ministry of Education, 2006).
- Alternatively, schools and teachers are seen as contributing to educational inequity unless they are challenged to assume agency for addressing disparities through reforms leading to fundamental changes in schools and classrooms.
- Schools that reflect a dominant culture represent invisible cultures that can effectively privilege students who share that dominant cultural identity while simultaneously disadvantaging students whose cultures are different. So-called mainstream schools are not multicultural but actually mono-cultural in asserting dominant cultural values and ignoring, if not actively de-valuing, minority cultural values. As a consequence, a mainstream school’s organisational structure, language, materials, and symbolism provide the systemic context for affirming some students and de-valuing others.
- The classroom is, of course, the daily lived experience of students; thus validation of students’ cultural identities and valuing of the cultural knowledge students bring with them to school have the potential to make a difference Gutierrez & Rogoff, 2003; Sleeter & Grant, 2009).
- Timperley,  Wilson, Barrar, and Fung (2007) emphasise the need for professional development that 
would enable teachers to better respond to the reality of diversity in the student population,
rather than continuing to teach to a hypothetical mainstream or ‘normal’ group of students. Bishop et al.(2009) describe the development and implementation of a large-scale, long-term professional
development programme for secondary teachers comprising pedagogies of cultural relations as a pathway for enhanced student outcomes.
- Caring for students as culturally located individuals within a framework of positive student–teacher relationships is considered beneficial for all students, but particularly so for M¯aori (Bishop et al., 2003; Hall & Kidman, 2004). Valenzuela (1999) distinguished between aesthetic caring, which involved affective expressiononly, and authentic caring, which entails deep reciprocity and, in the case of teachers,taking responsibility for providing an education environment in which their students thrive.
- Gay (2010) defines culturally responsive pedagogy as teaching ‘to and through [students’] personal and cultural strengths, their intellectual capabilities, and their prior accomplishments’ (p. 26) and as premised on ‘close interactions among ethnic identity, cultural background, and student achievement’ (p. 27).
- Culturally responsive teachers contextualise instruction in cultural forms, behaviours, and processes of learning familiar to students.
- There is also limited research on the impact of professional development for culturally responsive pedagogy (Meyer et al., 2010). Of particular relevance are two studies of site-based professional development to help teachers use culturally relevant pedagogy in science. Both document a shift in teacher practice, although neither links the professional development with student outcome data.
- national teacher professional development initiative in New Zealand provided an opportunity to extend existing literature on the effects of culturally responsive pedagogies in the classroom. Entitled Te Kotahitanga (unity), this Kaupapa M¯aori research-based professional development programme was implemented in 33 secondary schools with relatively high proportions of M¯aori students, beginning in 2004 (Bishop et al., 2003, 2009). Their programme aims to improve educational outcomes for M¯aori students through operationalising M¯aori cultural aspirations for self-determination by working with teachers to develop culturally responsive classrooms and schools (Bishop et al., 2009).
- Students valued inclusion of M¯aori content knowledge and described teachers whom they considered particularly encouraging, giving examples of how teachers demonstrated their commitment by attending community events, weekend sporting activities, and listening to speeches at the marae

Gutschlag, A.(2007). Some implications of the Te Kotahitanga model of teacher positioning. New Zealand Journal of Teachers’ Work, 4(1), 3-10. Retrieved from
- It is a well-established teacher professional development programme, funded by the Ministry of Education and now implemented in over20 schools. The ongoing findings of the project are also available to teachers and the general public.
- The importance of teacher-student relationships is another point of general agreement. Most teachers would endorse the idea that teacher-student relationships have a major influence on M!ori student achievement.
- ‘Non-agentic’ positions, as defined in the Te Kotahitanga report, are those in which teachers locate the problems of M!ori educational achievement with the students themselves, or their families or cultural background. ‘Non-agentic’ positions are also termed ‘deficit theories’, in that they blame the victims and attribute these problems to ‘some deficiency at best, a pathology at worst
- Teachers are not only agents of change: they are, to all intents and purposes, the sole agents of change. The fact that this position is about as nuanced as a sledgehammer seems to have escaped much notice amidst the flurry to promote it. To explore this further, we need to look at the theory upon which it is based, and the way in which this is used to create both an ideal ‘agentic’ teacher and his or her counterpart: the ‘deficit theoriser’.

A working definition of culture is given in the report:
Culture is what holds a community together, giving a common framework of meaning. It includes how people communicate with each other, how we make decisions, how we structure our families
and who we think are important. It expresses our values towards land and time and our attitudes towards work and play, good and evil, reward and punishment. Culture is preserved in language, symbols and customs and celebrated in art, music, drama, literature, religion and social gatherings. It constitutes the collective heritage, which will be handed down to future generations. 

 In this definition, culture refers to a domain of values, customs, and  traditions which are passed down and maintained as the collective identity of a  group of people.
Teaching Tolerance.( 2010, Jun 17).Introduction to Culturally Relevant Pedagogy.[video file]. Retrieved from
Culture has to do with beliefs values etc
Filters that help us as human beings to make sense of things
Tangible - crafts, music, art technology
intangible - value, beliefs, feelings, opinions, assumptions
Culturally relevant pedagogy - teachers make appropriate links about what students know and understand. Make connections - culture bridge builders.
Students bring in their cultural experiences into the classroom
Build on student prior knowledge
Culturally responsive teaching - school needs to adapt and modify the way it sends messages
Are culture and race the same thing?
students are not mere representatives of a culture ethnic group.
culture is a trait of the individual

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