Whanaungatanga: What Is It? How can you use it to create learner success? 3 Things You Need to Know

Whanaungatanga: What Is It? How can you use it to create learner success? 3 Things You Need to Know

whanaungatanga

learner centred
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What is whanaungatanga? 

You will struggle to create any kind of learner-centred teaching environment – whether online or in real life with this.

Family connection

Here’s the first thing you need to know. If you only remember one thing, remember this:

  • Whanaungatanga refers to a sense of family connection.

Relationship

It’s a relationship through shared experiences and working together which provides people with a sense of belonging.

Whanaungatanga is about connecting to whānau or family. This includes extended family and relationships at all levels. It also includes your work and classroom “family”.

Expectations

Of course, it can include biological family. But it’s much more than that.

A simple way to understand whanaungatanga is that it is about relationships and expectations. 

Whakawhanaungatanga – Getting to know each other

Sometimes in education settings, we use the word to talk about a process of getting to know each other. This is called whakawhanaungatanga. 

Whanaungatanga describes the ‘glue’ that holds people together in any whānau relationships.

In tough times, it’s the relationship-glue of whanaungatanga that causes the whānau to gather round, provide support, and put the needs of the group before the needs of individuals.

Sometimes, it’s more obvious when that relationship glue is NOT there. You’ve probably had the experience of walking into a classroom, work, relationship or family situation and just KNOWING that something wasn’t right.

If you could tell that “something” was missing in a situation like this then perhaps you already know what whanaungatanga is. And perhaps you just didn’t have the right word to describe it.

Well, now you do.

How does whanaungatanga help create a learner-centred teaching environment?

How does whanaungatanga help create a learner-centred teaching environment?

This is a good question. Here’s the answer:

  • 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.

We should foster whanaungatanga in our teaching

As educators, 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.

Of course, this has a wider application beyond the classroom as well. You need to foster whanaungatanga in all aspects of your life. This includes everywhere where you have relationships including at home, at school, at work, at church, in your sports activities, clubs and pass times.

How can you use whanaungatanga to create learner success?

FIND OUT IN MY EBOOKS

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

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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.

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