Nurturing Tuakana-Teina Relationships: Practical Steps for Vocational Teachers and Tradespeople

What is tuakana-teina?

Tuakana-teina is a Māori concept that refers to a relationship between an older more experienced person (the tuakana) and a younger less experienced person (the teina).

In this relationship, the tuakana acts as a guide, mentor, and role model, while the teina is open to learning and seeking guidance from the tuakana.

It is a reciprocal relationship where both parties have responsibilities and obligations towards each other. The tuakana shares their knowledge, skills, and experience with the teina, while the teina shows respect and deference to the tuakana.

It is a concept that emphasises the importance of collaborative learning, mutual respect, and support within a community.

Fostering Tuakana-Teina Relationships: Practical Steps for Vocational Teachers and Tradespeople

What can you do to foster tuakana-teina relationships in your training?

As a vocational teacher or tradesperson, there are practical steps you can take to foster a tuakana-teina relationship in your classroom or workshop.

Encourage collaboration

Encouraging collaboration in a tuakana-teina relationship can be done in several ways. One way is to assign roles based on individual strengths and knowledge, as this allows students or apprentices to work together and learn from one another.

For example, if the group project requires research, assign individuals who are more experienced in research to lead that portion of the project. Another way is to create group activities that require collaboration, such as group discussions or debates. This allows students or apprentices to share their ideas and perspectives and learn from one another.

Foster a learning environment

Creating a learning environment where students or apprentices feel comfortable asking questions and seeking help is essential in a tuakana-teina relationship. Encourage more experienced individuals to take on a mentoring role with the less experienced, and make sure that everyone knows that it’s okay to make mistakes and learn from them.

This can be done by creating a safe space for learning where individuals can express themselves without fear of judgment or ridicule. Provide opportunities for feedback and constructive criticism and create an environment where students or apprentices feel comfortable sharing their ideas and asking questions.

Promote mutual respect

Encouraging mutual respect in a tuakana-teina relationship means valuing everyone’s ideas and opinions, regardless of their level of experience. When discussing projects or activities, make sure everyone has the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas.

This can be done by facilitating discussions and ensuring that everyone has an equal chance to contribute. In addition, encourage individuals to listen actively and respectfully to others’ ideas and provide feedback in a constructive and positive manner.

Emphasise the importance of communication

Communication is key in any tuakana-teina relationship, and it’s important to emphasise its importance. Encourage open communication between students or apprentices by providing regular check-ins and creating opportunities for group discussions.

This allows individuals to express their thoughts and ideas, ask questions, and provide feedback to others. As a teacher or tradesperson, it’s important to model effective communication skills and encourage individuals to communicate respectfully and constructively.

Create opportunities for learning from peers

Creating opportunities for learning from peers is an important aspect of tuakana-teina. It allows individuals to learn from others’ experiences and expertise and build a stronger sense of community within the group.

This can be done by having students or apprentices share their skills and knowledge with one another. For example, if one student is particularly skilled in welding, they can share their techniques and tips with others. This can be done through group discussions, peer mentoring, or apprenticeship programs.

Encouraging individuals to learn from their peers can create a sense of camaraderie and support within the group, leading to more effective and collaborative learning.

Interested in reading more about Tuakana-teina?

Click here for all of my posts on this topic. Also, I have a book on learner-centred teaching that incorporates these and other concepts from a Māori worldview. Check it out here on Gumroad.

Author: Graeme Smith

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

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