What are the effects of colonisation on learner success?
This is part of a series of learner success. Colonisation refers to the loss of sovereignty by one group to another group.
The impact of colonisation, in terms of its enduring legacy and effects on the colonised, is associated with low levels of literacy and numeracy.
Here we’re talking about the colonisation of Māori by the British Crown and European settlers.
The historical phenomenon of colonisation
The historical phenomenon of colonisation stretches around the globe and across time. In our New Zealand Case Study this refers to the colonisation of Māori by the British Crown and European settlers.
You can make your own parallels depending on where you are in the world, but let’s dig into the New Zealand story.
The impact on Māori life expectancy
In the 1800s colonisation directly impacted Māori life expectancy. Sometimes this was from warfare, but often it was from illness and introduced diseases.
Māori had no immunity to illnesses brought by settlers that were common in Europe. This included measles, mumps, and whooping cough.
All of these took a terrible toll among Māori In the European population, these diseases often affected children. But among Māori, these affected both adults and children.
In the 19th century too, introduced respiratory diseases such as bronchitis and tuberculosis also killed large numbers of Māori.
Loss of Māori land
Loss of Māori land following the 1860s wars, Crown purchase and the Native Land Court led to the displacement of large numbers of Māori.
Losing their land reduced many tribes to poverty and living conditions that were overcrowded and unhygienic.
Loss of land also meant they lost access to traditional food sources. Poor diet helped disease take hold and spread.
Māori life expectancy began to increase in the late 1890s and the population began to recover as Māori gained immunity to European diseases.
20th Century Developments
Despite improvements in the first half of the 20th century, Māori were also still severely disadvantaged socially and economically. This meant poorer housing and nutrition than Pākehā, or non-Māori New Zealanders.
In 1979, just 139 years after the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi (The Treaty of Waitangi), Māori academics believed that the loss of te reo was so great that it would suffer language death.
The main cause of this was colonisation and a state policy of assimilation. In some cases, there are specific pieces of legislation regarding education that we can link to this loss.
Since the 1970s, though we have seen many gains including:
- The development of Māori-language immersion kindergartens (kōhanga reo), schools (Kura Kaupapa), and tertiary institutions (whare wānanga).
- The recognition of Māori as an official language of Aotearoa New Zealand in 1987.
- Māori broadcasting since 1989 and Māori television since 2004.
But the impact of colonisation on Māori remains far reaching. It extends into to politics, spirituality, economics, society and psychology.
For Māori, colonisation means dealing with the impacts of devastating loss including the loss of:
The impact has been intergenerational. And this is not a comprehensive list, but enduring impacts include:
- Low levels of participation and achievement in positive indicators such as education and economic well-being.
- Over-representation in negative indicators such as drug and alcohol abuse and imprisonment rates.
Some questions to think about
Here’s a good place to stop and think about the impact of colonisation on your own learners.
- What do you know about colonisation?
- What do you see as the enduring effects of colonisation in education, and in particular, on learner success?
- What do you do in your teaching or training to value other languages or cultures?
- What more could you do to strengthen the overall well-being of learners in your care who may be living with the legacy effects of colonisation?
How does colonisation relate to teaching and learning?
Find out more in these two short eBooks. One is about using Māori approaches and concepts to create the conditions for learning success. The other is an introduction to literacy and numeracy.
What is Learner-Centred Teaching – 12 Concepts from Te Ao Māori You Should Embrace to Create Learning Success
Discover time-honoured approaches to learner-centred teaching
What if I told you that there were time-honoured approaches to teaching and learning you can use to create the conditions for learning success. Imagine if your teaching really connected with your learners… What if your classroom or training environment was a place where your learners felt like they belonged and wanted to learn?
Here’s a secret. It’s totally possible if you discover and embrace time-honoured concepts from Te Ao Māori – the Māori world. This book is for you if you want to teach or train in a way that is more learner-centred or if you want to learn to think in a more holistic way. Read more here
CHECK OUT WHAT IS LEARNER-CENTRED TEACHING? 12 CONCEPTS FROM TE AO MĀORI YOU SHOULD EMBRACE TO CREATE LEARNING SUCCESS BY GRAEME SMITH
Click the link below to find out more about What is Learner-Centred? 12 Concepts from Te Ao Māori You Should Embrace to Create Learning Success
Literacy & Numeracy – It’s Not Rocket Science
Learn the fundamentals of literacy and numeracy with Graeme Smith
Discover how to be more successful in your teaching journey. I’ll introduce and explain some of the fundamentals of adult literacy and numeracy.
Once you’ve finished reading, you will have a better understanding of the basics including how to integrate or embed literacy and numeracy into your teaching. This includes with technical and vocational education. You can read more here.
Now bundled wth two free printable resources – a place value chart and hundreds grid.
CHECK OUT LITERACY AND NUMERACY: IT’S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE BY GRAEME SMITH
Click the link below to find out more about Literacy and Numeracy: It’s Not Rocket Science.