Shared values

Published: 04 Sep 2017
Equitable outcomes
Improvement in Action Te Ahu Whakamua


“In order for you to participate, and share what gold you have, you need to know what that gold is, and so you bring your identity, who you are, and that innate worth you have as a human being to your learning. As you do that you are benefiting everyone else in the school.”

Culturally responsive relationships and practices support and promote the development of learners’ confidence in their identity, language and culture. These relationships are explicitly acknowledged and understood by teachers and learners and contribute to an inclusive learning environment in which there are equitable opportunities to learn.  This video was filmed at Invercargill Middle School.

Key messages:

  • Learners’ prior knowledge and cultural experiences are integrated into curriculum, teaching and learning
  • Ako based, reciprocal relationships enable teachers and learners to develop the capability to move between teaching/learning roles according to the context
  • The shift to agentic positioning and the focus on each individual’s potential has been deliberate and significant for the school community. 

Things to think about:

  • How well does your curriculum, and your pedagogy, enable students to bring their identities, knowledge, language and culture to their and others learning?
  • How far are you on the journey from a learner deficit to a learner potential focus?

The evaluation indicators this video illustrates

  • Domain 4: Responsive curriculum, effective teaching and opportunity to learn 
    • Evaluation Indicators 
      • Effective, culturally responsive pedagogy supports and promotes student learning
      • Students participate and learn in caring, collaborative, inclusive learning communities
  • Domain 3: Educationally powerful connections and relationships 
    • Evaluation Indicator
      • School and community are engaged in reciprocal, learning-centred relationships
  • Domain 2: Leadership for equity and excellence 
    • Evaluation indicator 
      • Leadership builds relational trust and effective collaboration at every level of the school community

This video is part of a series

This video is part of the series Improvement in Action Te Ahu Whakamua. We created this series to inspire schools with examples of success in action. These examples highlight the benefits of fulfilling the evaluation indicators we use to review schools.

The full video series can be found here.

Remote video URL

Every child here is special, and every teacher celebrates that, and gets to know the child on an individual level, as well as a community of learners. And their families, as well. They're open to parents. They really encourage them to know who they are - you know, ko wai au. Who am I? Where do I come from? Who do I belong to? So in terms of their learning they always know where they are at.


In order for you to participate and share what goal you have you need to know what that goal is. So bringing your identity, who you are, and the innate worth that you have as a human being to your learning, because as you do that you're benefiting everybody else in that school. You're making it a richer place to be, and a good platform for your learning, to be able to add to what you have already.


Throughout the school there are new entrants, right through to the Year 6s. They all understand what ako is. And to manaakitanga, to look after one another. The school, kaupapa, the feel, the wairua that runs through the school is a sense of togetherness. Ako is our reciprocal nature of teaching and learning.


So I'm a teacher, but I'm also a learner. And I'm a teacher in different ways. And I'm a learner in different ways. And so the children understand that ako means they know their stage, they know their level, they know what they're working on. But also, it's about building capability So,in the classroom they are also teachers. They may teach me, they may teach each other. And they move between those roles within the classroom a lot throughout the day. That's the real heart of it.


The children are building the capabilities to be teachers and learners depending on the situation. Kendra's learning journey, here at middle school has been really important in terms of her gaining confidence around the areas that she was weak in. And also a sense of urgency to want to keep climbing and not be left behind. They're all pushing each other up that poutama. And for me, that's what whanaungatanga is about. They are individuals, but they're also part of a rōpū, moving forward in their learning.


Everybody has something of value to bring to our school. And we add to that. We don't try and subtract from that. And I think that's the biggest shift in thinking that we had to go through as a staff. Looking at everybody as you want to add to their kete but not try and take things out of their kete.


(Awesome, thank you)