The impact of colonisation is associated with low levels of literacy and numeracy. Colonisation refers to the loss of sovereignty by one group to another group. Here we’re talking about the colonisation of Māori by the British Crown and European settlers.
In the 1800s colonisation directly impacted Māori life expectancy. Sometimes this was from warfare, but often it was from illness and introduced diseases.
Māori had no immunity to illnesses brought by settlers that were common in Europe. This included measles, mumps, and whooping cough. All of these took a terrible toll among Māori In the European population, these diseases often affected children. But among Māori, these affected both adults and children.
In the 19th century too, introduced respiratory diseases such as bronchitis and tuberculosis also killed large numbers of Māori.
Loss of Māori land following the 1860s wars, Crown purchase and the Native Land Court led to the displacement of large numbers of Māori. Losing their land reduced many tribes to poverty and living conditions that were overcrowded and unhygienic.
Loss of land also meant they lost access to traditional food sources. Poor diet helped disease take hold and spread.
Māori life expectancy began to increase in the late 1890s and the population began to recover as Māori gained immunity to European diseases.
Despite improvements in the first half of the 20th century, Māori were also still severely disadvantaged socially and economically. This meant poorer housing and nutrition than Pākehā, or non-Māori New Zealanders.
In 1979, just 139 years after the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi (The Treaty of Waitangi), Māori academics believed that the loss of te reo was so great that it would suffer language death.
The main cause of this was colonisation and a state policy of assimilation. In some cases, there are specific pieces of legislation regarding education that we can link to this loss.
Since the 1970s though we have seen many gains including:
- The development of Māori-language immersion kindergartens (kōhanga reo), schools (Kura Kaupapa), and tertiary institutions (whare wānanga).
- The recognition of Māori as an official language of Aotearoa New Zealand in 1987.
- Māori broadcasting since 1989 and Māori television since 2004.
The impact of colonisation on Māori is far reaching. It extends into to politics, spirituality, economics, society and psychology.
For Māori, colonisation means dealing with the impacts of devastating loss including:
- loss of land
- loss of power
- loss of identity
- loss of status
- loss of language
- loss of culture
The impact has been intergenerational. And this is not a comprehensive list, but enduring impacts include:
- Low levels of participation and achievement in positive indicators such as education and economic well-being.
- Over-representation in negative indicators such as drug and alcohol abuse and imprisonment rates.
Some questions to think about
Here’s a good place to stop and think about the impact of colonisation on your own learners. These questions are not assessed, but thinking about them will help you answer the assessment task.
- What do you see as the enduring effects of colonisation in education?
- What do you do in your teaching or training to value Māori language or culture?
- What more could you do to strengthen the overall well-being of Māori and other learners in your care?
It’s difficult to say exactly what is causing the problem of low adult literacy and numeracy in Aotearoa New Zealand. What we can say though is that low adult literacy and numeracy skills are associated with certain kinds of things.
Just because two things happen together doesn’t always mean that one causes the other. This is an easy mistake to make. In technical terms, we can say this: “Correlation does not imply causation.”
So the point is to be a bit cautious when we’re talking about what we think is causing the problem.
That said, here’s a list of things that often pop up when we talk about what’s causing low skills in the adult population in literacy and numeracy:
- The impact of colonisation.
- Socio-economic factors.
- Cycles of poverty.
- Poor teaching.
We’ll have a look at each of these next.
Skip this post unless you manage foundation tutors or work as a tutor in the adult literacy and numeracy sector.
Here’s the question:
- Will the NCALNE training help my organisation develop more mature embedded literacy and numeracy practices?
Here’s the answer:
- Yes. It’s a great start. But it’s the beginning of the journey. Not the end.
The criteria above have been out for a couple of years now. And the NCALNE training and credentials will help your tutors and your organisation move from emergent practices, towards more mature embedded literacy and numeracy practices.
I’ll do a breakdown of this with more detail as to what and how at some stage. But that will be a different post.
Just remember: the NCALNE on its own is not a silver bullet. You need to have full organisations support to get the kind of mature practice that the TEC describe in the table above.
Some further ideas:
- What about measuring literacy and numeracy gains over a much longer time period.
- What about measuring changes in what tutors actually do?
- Think about what milestones tutors have to reach before you start to see improvements in learner outcomes? For example, NCALNE (Voc) plus… stuff: resources, organisational support, ongoing professional development.
The table is here below if you’re looking for a PDF version to share or print.
Hat Tip: Thanks, Damon Whitten for the wording in the heading and some of the ideas here.
UPDATED FOR 2015: Please go here.
If you need to complete the NCALNE (Voc) and you’re having trouble getting started (or even if you’re not!), here’s your special care package:
- Make sure that you are registered to use Pathways Awarua. The latest version of our entire ALEC course for the NCALNE (Voc) is now online in the Pathways Awarua platform. It’s free to register if you haven’t already. There are instructions here on what to do to register. Once you’ve registered you’ll probably have to complete a couple of short modules on how to use the Pathways platform and then you’ll have access to all of the content modules for the NCALNE (Voc) as well as two of the Assessment modules. We can unlock the rest of the Assessments once (or if) your course fees have been paid. If you want to know more about how the NCALNE (Voc) works on Pathways watch this short YouTube Clip.
- Don’t forget to check what’s in your ALEC Study Guide and Assessment Guide. It’s easy to overlook this, but your Study Guide, Assessment Guide, and any readings that we’ve sent you contain everything that you need to complete the assessment for this part of the course.
- Familiarise yourself with the requirements for Assessment 1. You can listen to me talking through the assessment tasks in short audio-only podcasts here on my blog. All the assessment podcasts are on the same page on my blog so scroll down to the audio for Assessment 1, click it and listen to it. If you have a smart phone these podcasts will run on your phone if you have a data plan or are in Wi-fi. These audio files are also in the Pathways Awarua Assessment Modules.
- Ask yourself the following questions as you work your way through the material.
- Definitions: What are the established definitions for adult literacy and numeracy? What’s an embedded approach? What about from a Maori perspective?
- Initiatives: What are some of the historic and current initiatives that are relevant to your training and learners?
- Reasons and impact: Why do we have low levels of adult literacy and numeracy? And what’s the impact of this on learners, study, work, communities, industry, and the nation?
- Resources: What resources are out there to help strengthen adult literacy and numeracy?
- Recommendations? What do you think would make a difference? What would you suggest to address the issues around low adult literacy and numeracy in relation to your work?
- Watch the short YouTube clips on the New Zealand Context on our ALEC Youtube Channel. You can access the playlist for Assessment 1 here.
- Work your way through the Module 1 on the New Zealand Context in Pathways Awarua. You’ll have to do some reading and a little bit of writing, but there are some interactions as well. Working your way through this module will set you up for the assessment task. This content is mostly the same as the ALEC Study Guide for the NCALNE (Voc). It updates it in a few places.
- There’s the brief overview of Literacy and Numeracy in New Zealand by John Benseman. It’s a PDF download that you can find here.
- Read up on the various TEC funded national initiatives that support literacy and numeracy. Full text is here from the TEC in their own words.
- Find out more about the State of the Nation with regards to national literacy and numeracy surveys including the current PIAAC and the 2006 ALLS.
- Get started on Assessment Task 1: You’ve got two choices here. EITHER you can click on the Assessment Module 1 in Pathways Awarua and do it online. The Assessment modules are below the orange ribbon (the content modules are above the ribbon). OR you can work from the template in the ALEC Assessment Guide. Email us here if you want a copy of the template: email@example.com
- Get in touch if you have any questions. If you’re not sure what to do then get in touch with us. Again, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or ring or txt me. My phone number is in the course materials as well. Happy to talk anytime. We can support you further with:
- Guidance around how to write a report
- Some models in terms of what we’re expecting for your response
- Extra information as needed
Can you think of anything else…? Let me know in the comments.