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Having high expectations for Māori students’ achievement

The underlying premise of these clips is that educators need to have high expectations of Māori students.

As outlined by Miller & Satchwell (2006:137), multiple pieces of research over the past 3 decades show the correlation between high teacher expectations and the resultant positive impact on student achievement.

As far back as 1983, a New Zealand study by Alison St George revealed that most teachers perceived Māori students more negatively than their non-Māori peers. Furthermore, they had lower expectations of the former. Twenty years on, Russell Bishop et al revealed there was little change. The researchers (Bishop, Berryman, Tiakiwai & Richardson, 2003) highlighted the barrier caused by teachers’ deficit thinking and by their having low expectations of Māori students.

Similarly, Gwenneth Phillips et al (2002:12) found that having high expectations was a key element of ‘picking up the pace’ among underachieving students in low decile primary schools. Subsequent research by Phillips & Timperley (2003:628) suggested that teachers’ expectations of student achievement should be the basis for goal-setting with students, and should shape the teachers’ daily decisions and actions.

Questions / Things to think about / Activities

  1. Using an inquiry process, let's examine our existing beliefs about the impact we can have on Māori students reaching their potential. How could we change our beliefs and understandings to help address the issue of Māori student achievement? What beliefs do we need to ‘reposition’? What actions do we need to take to reposition our beliefs?
  2. Let's consider some of the stereotypes typically used to describe Māori students and their whānau/iwi. What expectations do we have of our Māori students in terms of their capacity to learn and their behaviour? What are the expectations of their whānau? What are the Māori students’ own expectations? Is there symmetry/congruency across all three?
  3. Are our expectations of Māori students sufficiently high for them to meet national curriculum goals? In what ways are these expectations the same as /different from our expectations of other students? What influences our expectations?

Filed under: Ako | Effective teachers

Tags: Te Mana Kōrero

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