Ako is a reciprocal relationship
Ako means both teach and learn. It’s a reciprocal relationship where the educator is also learning from the student.
Ako refers to 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.
Learn and teach
Ako implies ‘learn’ and ‘teach’ at the same time.
In English we use two words – learn and teach – for different things. In Māori, ako is simply used for both. In this way of thinking, it is acceptable for the learner to shift roles and become the teacher and for the teacher to become the learner.
A simple way to understand ako in the shifting roles of educator and learner is this:
- sometimes learner, sometimes teacher.
How does ako contribute to a learner-centred teaching environment?
Ako works through the tuakana-teina relationship between educator and learner. As we mentioned before, while these terms have their origin in traditional Māori settings, we now use them in adult education.
Tuakana-teina contributes to a learner-centred teaching environment by providing us with an alternative to traditional teacher-centred methods of teaching.
Consider the following two different models of teaching and learning from our discussion about tuakana-teina. The arrows indicate the transmission of knowledge.
Teaching and learning from a Māori perspective requires two active participants. Tuakana-teina is ako in action:
Tuakana ← ako → Teina
Teaching and learning from a traditional Western perspective doesn’t always require an active learner:
Teacher teaches (active)
Learner learns (passive)
Some questions concerning ako
- Do you ever notice when you find yourself in the middle of a long monologue in your teaching?
- What can you put both you and your learners more at the centre of your training?
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
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Three Simple Approaches You Need for Learner-Centred Teaching
Find out more about three of the fundamentals of adult teaching
Have you ever thought about how to improve your teaching? Have you ever wondered what it takes to create learner success in any teaching environment? Well, you need three things. Make that four things… You need to:
- Understand what people mean when they talk about “learner-centred” teaching.
- Know how to leverage your learners’ prior knowledge.
- Have simple ways of increasing the motivation of your students.
- Know what learner agency is and how to develop it.
Read more here.
CHECK OUT THREE SIMPLE APPROACHES YOU NEED FOR LEARNER-CENTRED TEACHING BY GRAEME SMITH
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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.
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The Educator Entrepreneur – Don’t Bring a Whiteboard Marker to a Knife Fight
Learn how to think like an Entrepreneur with Graeme Smith
Education is a tough business to work in. And that’s true regardless of whether you are a teacher, a trainer or any kind of specialist educator. But what if you’re a business owner AS WELL…!
If you’re like me, most days you’re probably pretty excited about what you do. But some days… Some days I can’t understand why anyone would want to work in education. But I learned to survive and thrive and you can too. Teach yourself a lesson and start thinking like an entrepreneur. Read more here
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