Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's police reporter.

Focus on improving Maori education

Nearly 40 East Coast teachers collaborated to improve educational outcomes for Maori students recently.

Teachers from five Hawke's Bay schools were joined by three from Gisborne as part of the Waikato University Te Kotahitanga programme at William Colenso College last week.

The programme focused on intensive professional development for teachers and sought to change classroom structure to focus on relationship-based modes of teaching.

William Colenso College principal Daniel Murfitt, said the programme was delivering results.

"It is about improving academic outcomes for students and we have definitely seen results," he said. "It just goes to show for people in the community, in schools and politically that we, in New Zealand, have a lot to offer and it is definitely working."

William Colenso College lead facilitator Catherine Kerr said the professional development refined teaching at the school.

"It's about sharing good teaching practice between teachers. This is to see what we can fine tune to really see the results. It is a research based programme, and it our job to try and input that into the classroom."

She said teachers were frequently observed in the classroom and given feedback to improve their methods.

Napier Boys' High School lead facilitator Robin Fabish said building relationships was integral to the programme's success.

"It is to promote Maori achievement by building relationships with the students by taking an interest in what they are doing outside of the classroom and making sure what we are talking about in class connects to their own lives, so there is relevance to their learning," Mr Fabish said.

"It is also about giving students the opportunity to have input and working as a partnership in the classroom rather than a dictatorship."

Schools needed to have a well-represented Maori population to receive government funding for the programme, and the other three Hawke's Bay high schools taking part in the programme were Flaxmere College, Hastings Boys' High School and Wairoa College.

The three other schools were Gisborne Girls' High School, Gisborne Boys' High School and Lytton High School.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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