The purpose of the following is to provide you with a framework for adult literacy and numeracy using Māori concepts. These concepts are often holistic and can apply to many aspects of life including education.
Definitions, too, can vary among different groups. These definitions were taken from a number of sources including the latest available version unit standard 21204.
If effective LN teaching is a two story house, think of these concepts as the foundations that you might need to lay before you can build a delivery of effective LN teaching on top.
Whakapapa refers to genealogy, history, stages of development.
Knowledge about who you are (identity) and where you come (background) from are integral to Māori literacy and numeracy. Whakapapa helps connect people to knowledge about the world through stories and narrative. Whakapapa also means that the learners are central to the learning.
For Māori, whakapapa is always the starting place. Learning to whakapapa opens up the whole person and helps create relationship and connections. Also, everything has a whakapapa, not just people. Everything comes from somewhere. The story of where something or someone comes from is whakapapa.
Whanaungatanga comes from the word whanau or family and refers to nation, society, community, relationships. The family or extended family forms the basic unit of Māori society into which an individual was born and socialised. A simple way to understand whanaungatanga is that it is all about relationship. Sometimes it’s described as a process of getting to know each other.
Sometimes it’s used to describe the relationship ‘glue’ that holds people together in any whanau-type relationship. Just think of a rugby team, forestry gang, or similar arrangement where people work, play, and often socialise together.
In tough times, it’s the relationship-glue of whanaungatanga that causes the whanau to gather round, provide support, and put the needs of the group before the needs of individuals.
Kaitiakitanga refers to the practical doing; and rules and tikanga of adult literacy and numeracy education (or other field); the tutor is a kaitiaki (caregiver) of the learner’s knowledge so that the student can practise according to their needs/wants.
The term comes from Kaitiaki. Traditionally, a Kaitiaki was a guardian of the sky, the sea, and the land. The process and practices of protecting and looking after the environment are referred to as kaitiakitanga. The term kaitiaki is also increasingly used for broader roles of trusteeship or guardianship, and education as noted in the definition above.
Update: There’s more on Kaitiakitanga here.
Mana atua refers to spirit/spirituality, well-being, sacred power of the ‘Gods’.
Literally, mana atua means the mana, or sacred power and authority, of God (or gods). In education Mana Atua has come to refer to well-being.
The concept of well-being encompasses the physical, mental and emotional, social, and spiritual dimensions of health. This concept is recognised by the World Health Organisation.
Mana whenua refers to the power of the land, importance, beliefs, belonging.
Literally, mana whenua means the mana or power that comes from the land. Traditionally, this refers to Māori territorial rights, power associated with possession and occupation of tribal land. The tribe’s history and legends are based in the lands they have occupied over generations and the land provides the sustenance for the people and to provide hospitality for guests.
In education, mana whenua has come to represent the concept of belonging. Learners should feel a sense of belonging – that they literally and metaphorically have a place to stand. The education setting should be secure and safe, a place where each person is respected and accepted for who they are.
Mana tangata refers to identity; individual cultures; the power an individual gains through their abilities, efforts, and taking advantage of all opportunities, and contributing to others.
Literally, the mana of people, mana tangata refers to the power and status gained through one’s leadership talents, strength of character, from basic human rights, or by birthright. In education, mana tangata refers to an individual’s contribution to the learning process – a process where opportunities for learning should be equitable and each learner’s contribution is valued.
The idea is that learning and development occurs through active participation in activities and through collaboration with others in a programme that builds on individual strengths and allows others to “make their mark” as well as develop satisfying relationships. This involves interactions with others, learning to take another’s point of view, empathising with others, to ask for help, see themselves as a help for others, and discussing their ideas.
Communication. Mana reo refers to the power or authority of language, as the life force of mana Māori, communication.
Mana ao turoa
Mana ao tūroa refers to strengthening abilities; manipulating the environment to suit personal strengths and situations; exploration.
Te mana ao turoa translates literally as the mana of the wider world around us, of nature, or the earth. In education, mana ao turoa refers to the concept of learning through an exploration of the environment. All aspects of the environment – the natural, social, physical, and material worlds – are part of the context of learning.
Tino rangatiratanga refers to determination by Māori of issues that impact on Māori; the learners’ right to define their powers of decision-making, leading to their independence
Taken literally, rangatira means chief and the suffix -tanga implies the quality or attributes of chieftainship. The addition of intensifier tino in this context means the phrase can be translated as ‘absolute/unqualified chieftainship’. Its closest English translation is self-determination.
Ako refers to the traditional Māori thinking about the transfer and absorption of skills, knowledge, wisdom, experience, much of which has traditionally occurred in the course of everyday activities. It implies ‘learn’ and ‘instruct’ at the same time.
In English we use two words – learn and teach. This is not the case in Māori . Rather the word ako is simply used for both learn as well as teach. In the Māori world it is acceptable practise for the learner to shift roles and become the teacher and for the teacher to become the learner.
The simplest way to understand ako is that it means: sometimes learner, sometimes teacher. The concept of ako allows for an alternative to traditional Western methods of teaching. Consider the following two different models of teaching and learning. The arrows indicate the transmission of knowledge.
Tuakana-teina refers to the relationship between an older (tuakana) person and a younger (teina) person, and is specific to teaching and learning in the context of Māori. Within teaching and learning this can take a variety of forms:
- Peer-to-peer – teina teaches teina, tuakana teaches tuakana
- Younger to older – the teina has some skills in an area that the tuakana does not and is able to teach the tuakana.
- Older to younger – the tuakana has the knowledge and content to pass on to the teina
- Able to less able – the learner may not be as able in an area, and someone more skilled can teach what is required.
Tuakana-teina is a mentoring approach where typically the mentors (tuakana) share their experiences, and their knowledge as well as provide information. The tuakana is a support person and adviser for the teina and the teina gives the tuakana a chance to learn new things and meet new people. This is ako in action.
Kōrero, titiro, whakarongo
Kōrero refers to speaking. Titiro refers to, looking, observing. Whakarongo refers to listening.
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