Cultural Capability Trial for Foundation-Level Educators

ako brand

Here’s something new from my He Taunga Waka Colleagues at Ako Aotearoa. They would love you to trial new content they have been writing.

The focus is on working more effectively with your Māori and Pasifika learners.

You’ll need to visit Pathways Awarua to trial the new material and there’s a link to a survey to complete at the end. Your comments will be anonymous.

Please participate. Your comments will help make this work even better. If you already have an account, just log in with that. You’ll see a screen like the one in the image below once you’re underway

Cheers, Graeme

Screenshot 2018-02-13 11.34.05.png

Kia ora tātou/ Talofa/ Malo e lelei/Kia orana/ Bula vinaka/ Greetings!

We are pleased to announce the launch the Cultural Capability trial for tertiary foundation-level educators!

General information

The purpose of this trial by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) is to improve the cultural competencies of educators across the tertiary sector.

The trial is based on cultural values – values will guide any educator to attain a broader understanding of their adult learners. The Māori Cultural Capabilities pathway trial focuses on the key value of ‘ako’, the concept of learning and teaching. The Pasifika Cultural Competencies pathway focuses on ‘values’ that are embedded and practised in cultural and everyday settings of Pasifika people.

What to do?

Firstly, read the attached information. The activities are located on the Pathways Awarua site, and here is the link to get there – https://www.pathwaysawarua. com/


  • Read the information sheet first
  • Login by creating a username and password
  • Complete the survey monkeys after each pathway to give feedback
  • This trial will remain open till the 28 February 2018

Thank you for your participation,

The He Taunga Waka team from Ako Aotearoa

Information sheet for Cultural Capability trial 2018

Greetings/kia ora /kia orana/talofalava /malo e lelei /takalofa lahi atu /ni sa bula vinaka!

The purpose of the Cultural Pathways initiative by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) is to improve the cultural capability of educators across the tertiary sector. For this trial, the TEC are focussing on Māori and Pasifika cultural capability. This information sheet provides details for about the Cultural Capability trial created by the He Taunga Waka team from Ako Aotearoa.

Tell me more about this Cultural Pathway trial?

The cultural pathways consist of some sample activities which are interactive, for trialists to engage in, and respond accordingly. There are two pathways for trialists to complete; the Māori pathway focuses on ‘ako’ (the concept of learning and teaching); and the Pasifika pathway focuses on ‘values’ that are embedded and practised in cultural settings or instilled in the everyday actions of Pasifika people.

Where are they?

These two pathways and activities can be found on the Pathways Awarua platform, an online site for adult learners seeking to sharpen their literacy and numeracy skills in real-life situations such as driving skills, dealing with money, and health and safety. It is intended that educators (such as tutors, kaiako, lecturers, and training advisors) will be able to access these cultural capability pathways for their professional development too (easy instructions are found below).

How much time will it take?

This trial takes about 45-60 minutes, and there is a short survey to complete at the end of each Pathway.

How do I access the trial?

  1. Click on   and create a login-username and password.
  2. Click on go
  3. Select a pathway (Māori or Pasifika) on the left of your screen and complete the activities.
  4. Click on the link to a short surveymonkey to complete for that pathway.
  5. Go back and select the other pathway (Māori or Pasifika) and complete the activities.
  6. Click on the link to a short surveymonkey to complete for that pathway.

What happens after the trial?

We assure trialists that your personal details and written responses will be kept confidential and private. Your responses in the surveys will inform the design of further activities on these two cultural pathways. Information gathered in the surveys will be used for educative and research purposes only; and primarily for the benefit of tertiary educators.

We wish to finally thank you for your participation in this trial

The He Taunga Waka team from Ako Aotearoa


Evaluating your adult literacy and numeracy teaching against the concepts of Ako and Tuakana-teina


You may remember from your NCALNE (Voc) that in te ao Maori, the concept of ako means both to teach and to learn. This is 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.

A simple way to understand the shifting roles of educator and learner in this sense is to understand that ako means: sometimes learner, sometimes teacher.

This concept works through the tuakana-teina relationship between educator and learner. While these terms have their origin on the Marae in traditional settings, we have come to use them to talk about relationships in our adult education contexts in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Tuakana-teina refers to the relationship between an older (tuakana) person and a younger (teina) person, and is specific to teaching and learning in the context of Māori. Within teaching and learning this can take a variety of forms:

  • Peer-to-peer – teina teaches teina, tuakana teaches tuakana
  • Younger to older – the teina has some skills in an area that the tuakana does not   and is able to teach the tuakana.
  • Older to younger – the tuakana has the knowledge and content to pass on to the  teina.
  • Able to less able – the learner may not be as able in an area, and someone more  skilled can teach what is required.

Tuakana-teina is a mentoring approach where typically the mentors (tuakana) share their experiences, and their knowledge as well as provide information. The tuakana is a support person and adviser for the teina and the teina gives the tuakana a chance to learn new things and meet new people. Think of this as ako in action.

The concept of ako and tuakana-teina allow work well with our ideas of learner-centredness in adult literacy and numeracy teaching. They provide an alternative to traditional Western teaching methods.

Listen to Tamati below as he describes the tuakana-teina.

  1. What do you do in your adult literacy and numeracy teaching to make it more like tuakana-teina…?
  2. Do you think your learners would characterise your training as more like a monologue or more like a conversation?


Monologue or dialogue?

IMG_3843You can’t afford to think like you used to… This is as true in education now as it is in marketing.

Under the old model you used to be able to broadcast your message to your audience. It was a one-way information transaction. You would transmit and they would receive. You were active and they were passive.

We grew up with this. Think of traditional television advertising… think of your high school education… think of how you experienced any higher level learning: typically, the teacher stands at the front. Students sit in rows. Teacher teaches. Learners learn. It’s a one way transaction. A monologue.

Under the new model, both parties are active participants. You can blame the internet if you like. But it’s a good thing. This is how social media marketing works. You talk to your customers and clients. They talk back. That’s how companies and organisations use tools like Facebook and Twitter. It’s incredibly powerful and your customers feel empowered.

In other words, it’s a dialogue.

This has profound implications for education. The internet, social media, computer games, Youtube and multitudes of other well-designed, visually-oriented, customer-centred interactions have trained our learners to expect the dialogue.

They want to talk back. More than that… they expect to contribute. The old model doesn’t  allow this. Sure there are exceptions. But what they are. Exceptions.

The lecture, the monologue, and in particular, the live delivery face-to-face lecture monologue, isn’t exactly dead… but it needs to give up some space to the new model.

This new model is a dialogue. Our learners want to, expect to, engage in this dialogue. Trades and vocational tutors instinctively know this.

So the call to action is this: How are you going to make your teaching and learning more of a dialogue and less of a monologue?

Kia kaha