Reducing Māori Student Disengagement in Education: Profiling the Critically Conscious, Culturally Responsive Educator


Māori learners as minority students in New Zealand are over-represented in the negative disengagement indices in mainstream secondary education, despite Māori only representing 17.4% of the New Zealand population. Compared with non-Māori students, Māori are more likely to receive disciplinary action excluding them from mainstream. Te Tiriti o Waitangi (The Treaty of Waitangi) as New Zealand’s underpinning constitutional document, New Zealand legislation and educational policy stipulate that schools must be culturally responsive to the needs of Māori learners ‘as Māori’. Research suggests a secure cultural identity is a buffer for negative learning experiences and can positively impact Māori student inclusion in education. Drawing on research with Māori learners excluded from education, a critical theory lens provides a better understanding of how schools as microcosms of society can perpetuate inclusive or exclusive environments for Māori. This paper argues that a teacher is better equipped to be culturally responsive when critically conscious of the social, political, and historical impacts on Māori students. These educators know their positionality, beliefs, and assumptions as they have prepared themselves with a cultural tool kit to influence the student/teacher pedagogical relationship. Highlighting, culturally responsive pedagogies for Māori learners, this paper illustrates how pūrākau (traditional Māori story-telling and stories) can be used as a pedagogical strategy to enhance Māori cultural identities. In finishing, critically conscious, culturally responsive educators are more effective when they can confidently reflect on systemic privilege and address pedagogical practices to create a culturally safe environment where Māori learners can flourish.

Author Information
Tania Cliffe-Tautari, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Paper Information
Conference: BCE2023
Stream: Teaching Experiences

This paper is part of the BCE2023 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Cliffe-Tautari T. (2023) Reducing Māori Student Disengagement in Education: Profiling the Critically Conscious, Culturally Responsive Educator ISSN: 2435-9467 – The Barcelona Conference on Education 2023: Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon