Quality of Teacher Training for Teaching Māori Students (research and audit of pre-service teacher training)

Project dates: 
Nov-2000 to Oct-2001
Description of the project: 

This work arose during my time as a performance auditor, whilst working for Te Puni Kōkiri. The aim of the audit was to determine the extent to which mainstream teacher education programmes equipped teachers to understand, and effectively teach, Māori students.

The audit was precipitated by:

i. the low levels of achievement among Māori students

ii. the inability of teachers to engage, and teach, Māori students

iii. the changing demographics in New Zealand classrooms.

My involvement: 

Along with an experienced Māori educator, my role was to:

- examine the course content of 10 teacher training providers ie analysis of documentary evidence

- interview stakeholders (lecturers, students, beginning teachers, principals/DPs, associate teachers, boards of trustees, and whānau members).

Key skills used: 
  • facilitation
  • relationship-building e.g. stakeholders and the Ministry of Education
  • interview skills
  • report writing
  • knowledge of education generally (as an ex-teacher) and teacher training specifically (as an ex-lecturer)
  • writing of Cabinet paper (which was used thereafter as an exemplar in Cabinet Office training)

Although some examples of good practice were evident, we found that most teacher education providers needed to further develop their programmes to instil in teacher trainees the importance of:

- building relationships with Māori students

- having high expectations of Māori students

- making the curriculum more relevant for Māori students (because of cultural and experiential differences).

The final report resulted in a formal Cabinet paper, with recommendations to the Minister. The Prime Minister (Helen Clark) and Cabinet Office commented on the clarity of the writing in the audit report. It was easy to read, providing a very good explanation of the background and the issues. Moreover, the audit was well summarised  in the associated Cabinet paper.