Concepts: What is whanaungatanga?

Approaches in adult LN (10)

What is it?

Whanaungatanga refers to a sense of family connection. It’s a relationship through shared experiences and working together which provides people with a sense of belonging.

Can we dig a little deeper?

Whanaungatanga is about connecting to whanau – or family. This includes extended family and relationships at all levels.

A simple way to understand whanaungatanga is that it is about relationships and expectations. Sometimes it’s described as a process of getting to know each other. This is called whakawhanaungatanga.

Whanaungatanga describes the ‘glue’ that holds people together in any whānau-type relationship. 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.

How does this help describe a learner-centred teaching environment?

You can’t have a learner-centred teaching environment without good relationships. This applies to your relationships with your learners as well as their relationships with each other.

In a learner-centred teaching environment, people feeling connected and identify with the group. They stick together. Shared expectations mean that they celebrate diverse abilities and individual excellence.

As tutors, we should foster whanaungatanga in our teaching environments. This means communicating a belief in the capacity of all as learners and achievers.

We should look for opportunities to use learners’ life experiences as the foundation for future learning.

Getting to know your learners takes time and many interactions. The more you can interact with your learners, the more they will see that you are genuine in your desire to help them succeed.

  1. What do you do to build relationships in your teaching context?
  2. Do you know what your learners’ aspirations and goals are?

Author: Graeme Smith

Education, technology, design. Also making cool stuff...

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