Practical Ways to Support Rangatiratanga in Vocational Education

How to incorporate Rangatiratanga in vocational education?

I’ve written about this before, but in brief Rangatiratanga is a concept of self-determination and sovereignty that is central to Māori culture.

It encompasses the idea of having control over one’s own life, land, resources, and cultural practices, as well as the right to make decisions and take action in accordance with Māori values and traditions. 

In educational contexts, Rangatiratanga emphasises the importance of learners having control over their own learning and the ability to shape their own futures.

Educators can support learners in developing their own sense of self-determination by empowering learners, encouraging autonomy, fostering cultural understanding, and creating a supportive environment.

While Rangatiratanga is primarily associated with Māori culture, it has broader applications in the context of education and can benefit learners from all cultural backgrounds. 

Educators can incorporate Rangatiratanga into their practice by promoting learner agency, encouraging students to take an active role in their own learning, and recognising the importance of cultural identity and heritage.

By doing so, educators can create a more inclusive and learner-centred environment that empowers learners to take control of their own lives and futures.

Empowering Learners: Practical Ways to Support Rangatiratanga in Vocational Education

What can you do when it comes to using Rangatiratanga in vocational education?

Here are some additional practical suggestions for vocational educators to support Rangatiratanga:

Encourage critical thinking

Encourage learners to critically evaluate their own beliefs and assumptions, and to challenge the dominant discourse in their field of study. This can help them to develop a sense of agency and self-determination in their learning.

Example: In a business course, you could ask learners to critically evaluate the assumptions underlying traditional models of leadership and management, and to explore alternative models based on Māori values and principles.

Incorporate Māori language and culture

By incorporating te reo Māori and Māori cultural practices into teaching and learning, you can help learners to develop a deeper appreciation and understanding of Māori culture and values, and to feel more connected to their own cultural heritage.

Example: In a healthcare course, you could teach learners some basic te reo Māori terms related to health and wellbeing, and encourage them to explore Māori healing practices and beliefs.

Provide opportunities for community engagement

By providing opportunities for learners to engage with their local communities, you can help them to develop a sense of connection and responsibility to their community, and to see the potential impact of their actions and decisions.

Example: In an environmental science course, you could organise a community cleanup event, and encourage learners to reflect on the environmental impact of their actions and the importance of sustainability.

Foster collaboration and collective responsibility

By fostering a sense of collaboration and collective responsibility among learners, you can help them to see the potential of working together to achieve shared goals, and to develop a sense of shared ownership and control over their learning and development.

Example: In a team-building course, you could encourage learners to work together to develop a shared vision and goals for their team, and to develop strategies for achieving those goals together.

Acknowledge and respect cultural differences

By acknowledging and respecting the cultural differences of your learners, you can create a more inclusive and culturally responsive learning environment that promotes respect, understanding and acceptance.

Example: In a social work course, you could encourage learners to explore and reflect on their own cultural biases and assumptions, and to develop strategies for working effectively with clients from diverse cultural backgrounds.

By incorporating these practical suggestions into their teaching practice, you can help support Rangatiratanga, promote self-determination and create a more inclusive and empowering learning environment for their learners.

What do you think you can do to incorporate Rangatiratanga in vocational education?

If you found this helpful

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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