2 March 2013

Cultural, intercultural, bicultural, multicultural - 3

So what tools have we got at our disposal to support the work of the Language teacher to be culturally and interculturally competent?

(I am writing this post to support the facilitation of some aspects of the upcoming ILEP workshops . It is a means to get my head round the complexity! It will be interesting to see how the "knowledge and experience in the room" during the workshop make the conversation evolve! I hope that participants do not turn up thinking they will be given ready solutions!)

Te Tātaiako- Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Maōri Learners
has been developed to meet the goals of Ka Hikitia so that teachers think of what it takes to have success in teaching Maōri learners. Ka Hikitia, the Government Maōri Education strategy is being redeveloped for another 5 years starting 2013.
Te Tātaiako
Te Tātaiako (here) is a highly readable (and printable) 20 page document to support teachers' work in personalising education for Maōri students.
It lists 5 main competencies (in orange my quick summary) :
Wānanga - dialogue with learners and communities
Whanaungatanga - active engagement in working relationships
Manaakitanga - integrity, sincerity and respect towards learners' culture
Tangata Whenuatanga - providing context where the identity, culture, language of the learners affirmed
Ako - teachers taking responsibility for their there own learning as well as for the learning of the learners
Then the document goes on to detail each competence with explanatory criteria as well as examples of learner voice and whanau voice.  "For registered teachers, the focus is möhio: knowing how to validate and affirm Mäori and iwi culture, and applying that knowledge." (p.4 Te Tātaiako)

It is the must-print and the must-discuss when work is done around supporting the achievement of Maōri learners.

I would like to discuss with you and other Language teachers, who may have internalized these, if I am right in thinking that these competences and behaviours are also at the heart of Intercultural competencies, or if not at the heart where they sit in relation with the iCLTs.

Should this turn out to be verified, what needs to be mobilized by the teacher in order to:
- make the connections cultural competence-intercultural competence and ensure they are explicit for all learners?
- provide culturally responsive and engaging contexts for learning?
- provide regular timely feedback/feedforward to help progress and make it visible?
- develop a relationship with all the language learners, with respect of all of the languages and cultures they are bringing in the classroom?
- document classroom and outside actions, student voice, whanau engagement, achievement, success, trials, steps taken to support learner's progress?
- reflect upon progress against the criteria?

In comes the unmissable opportunity to see how ICTs and eLearning can help with evidencing the development and growth of the cultural and intercultural competence of the teacher.
There are many tools out there that allow to :
- access information (eg: MoE websites, professional reading, NZCER, Universities etc)
- initiate/participate in conversations (eg:, professional forums, VLN groups, listserves, social media...)
- collect evidence (eg: webtools, cloud drives, apps, pictures, videos, sound files)
- select and display evidence to demonstrate some particular aspect of the competence
- reflect (individually and/or through sharing with others, in or outside your school) on progress being made, where you were at when starting, where you are now, where you are going next.

I can see how an eportfolio* system like MyPortfolio come in as a handy tool as it allows for all of that to happen in one space!

And in order to document and think about what I am doing and how I am doing it, I really need a meaty driving question which is going to be at the heart of my professional goals for a determined period of time. Central to effective pedagogy is Teaching as Inquiry and this simple reflection tool can be a step to start the process. Teaching as Inquiry has plenty of benefits as it allows to incorporate all of the school/teacher initiatives (eg: particular aspects of Cultural Competence/elearning/ iCLT) in one cycle, and allows to establish a time scale for steps to happen by.
I would actually think along these same lines to document and reflect on my practice over time if my professional goals were assessed through Appraisal. It is a matter of lining up what I set out to do in knowledge of what I ought to do within my context with what I want to achieve over that cycle.

And if carrots are needed to effectively get started or get serious...   Professional learning goals must be aligned with the Registered Teacher Criteria. Te Tātaiako have direct links with all of the twelve criteria. So by working on developing these competences, teachers are effectively working on demonstrating that they are meeting aspects of these criteria. But it is not a box ticking exercise that can be crammed in a month prior to renewing your Teacher Registration. It needs to be planned over a cycle (3 years), all twelve criteria need to be evidenced, the key indicators defining the set of values to measure against. 

The Enabling eLearning Registered Teacher Criteria and eLearning is a "resource that illustrates how e-learning examples can be used to support the  Registered Teacher Criteria. The twelve criteria have been "unpacked" with examples provided for each criteria"(Source).  I used to refer to its precursor a lot and this current version is very recent. I will make use of this and link to MyPortfolio use in the upcoming workshops. Numerous tools are mentioned, there are many options to investigate.

           Cultural Competence + Teaching as Inquiry +  eLearning
        effective culturally responsive Language Teacher

*an eportfolio lands itself to this type of documenting: it is about filming the process. Understanding, developing, using competences and skills happen over time. It does not all happen at once nor is there a right or wrong. An eportfolio allows to show steps taken to work towards a competence (collecting and selecting evidence), in knowledge of the criteria, to reflect over these steps, to connect with others (HoD, colleagues etc) for feedback and feedforward,  then to decide on the next steps in a learning process knowing what has come before. Hence an eportfolio suits an inquiry and along the way users of an eportfolio gain in digital competence and capability.


  1. Yay, I seem to have the internet at last but it's a bit fickle at the moment.
    Lots for me to read and digest here. To do justice to these meaty reflections of yours I'll need to wait till the dust has settled here and I'm functional at school, sorry. This might take a week as I won't have met everyone till Friday and I'm rather preoccupied about the German. The week winds up from lighter at the beginning to 6 periods on Friday!! Well, at least it'll be followed by the weekend. I'll be really interested to read about your experience on the iCTL trip too!

  2. Absolutely no rush, now it is here, it can be visited anytime again and it will be certainly more interesting to visit when the need arises! Leave it till then!
    I wish you all the very best for the week ahead Ruth, I know you are not AWOL if I dont see you here, I just know you are teaching! And when you are not, you will be catching your breath! Bises et à très vite!


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