|Figure 1. Hongi (Dolphin Travel, 2018)|
“We know that (mainstream) schooling has been one of the most powerful tools of colonisation, still complicit in the creation of the alienation we (Maori) are struggling with and a major roadblock in the pathway forward.” (Milne, 2017).
|Figure 2. Mainstream (Milne, 2017)|
I was born in Hungary, which underwent cultural eradication following WW2, by the Soviet Union. The monarchy was removed, privately owned property was expropriated and policies conformed with Communist principles.
Hungary experienced the worst inflation in financial history and people lived in fear, on the verge of starvation. Individual liberty ceased and arbitrary imprisonment became commonplace. All means of communication, from broadcasting to the classroom, were used for Marxist-Leninist indoctrination.
Hungarian people were aliens in their own land.
|Figure 3. Me with sculpture of Vladimir Lenin. (Willemse, 1973)|
I was 7 when my parents relocated to South Africa. Despite being bilingual in German and Hungarian, and having already completed a year of schooling, my lack of English was quickly identified as a deficit and I was enrolled at a grade lower than my peers. I felt invisible, misunderstood and quickly grew bored of school. You feel your culture being erased by the imposed standard and unknowingly, you become complicit in erasing your own culture as you strive to fit in.
When moving to New Zealand in 1998, we again experienced silent racism from the comfort zone of the endemic people and were surprised by the racial profiling toward non-Pakeha - whether indigenous or migrant. The human condition of rejecting the unfamiliar in order to preserve the familiar.
Viewing this slide (Milne, 2017) through my cultural lens, the similarity between occupation and colonisation is evident.
|Figure 4. Naming White Spaces (Milne, 2017)|
Teachers have a responsibility in nurturing people to be true to themselves.
Culturally responsive pedagogy (Gay, 2001, p.106) “uses cultural characteristics, experiences and perspectives as conduits for effective teaching”. My experiences have honed my EQ and cultural intelligence, as defined in 9 megaskills by Bucher (2008). This helps me to 'See' students of migrant cultures trying to establish or hide their identity and 'See' indigenous people strive to have their culture re-established and valued in their own land.
In Visual Art, the ultimate subject of self-expression, identity and culture play a vital role in developing personal points of view that drive authenticity and originality in creative work (see Action Continuum, Milne 2017).
|Figure 5. Quote by artist Annette Messager (AZ Quotes, nd).|
Bishop (2012) calls on agentic teachers to take action. So what is an agentic teacher?
Like the significant teachers that 'Saw' me, I aim to become someone with vision, who ‘sees’ the learner for who they are and values what they can contribute, with a mission to enrich experiences for my learning community. My explicit core values strive for connection and seek to collaborate, challenging deficit thinking. As a human resource, I own my personal learning by pursuing inquiries about ways to make a difference to students, colleagues and communities.
|Figure 6. Mauri Ora (Maori Television, nd).|
In fact, the Whānaungatanga competency is linked to the Teaching Standard for professional relationships (see below):
|Figure 7. Whānaungatanga competency (Tātaiako, p4, 2011).|
|Figure 8. Professional relationships. (Our Code and Standards. p18, 2017)|
My personal goals for improving school-wide activities, are summed up in this Maori proverb:
|Figure 9. I am the river (Mader, 2012).|
AZ Quotes (nd). Annette Messager Quote. Retrieved from http://www.azquotes.com/quote/894044
Dolphin Travel (2018). New Zealand Maori Culture. Hongi image retrieved from http://www.dolphin-travel.co.nz/new-zealand-maori-culture.html
Bishop, R., Berryman, M., Cavanagh, T. & Teddy, L. (2009).Te Kotahitanga: Addressing educational disparities facing Māori students in New Zealand. Teaching and Teacher Education, 25(5),734–742.
Bucher, R. (2008). Building cultural intelligence (CQ): Nine Megaskills. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education Inc.
Education Council. (2017). Our Code Our Standards.Retrieved from: https://educationcouncil.org.nz/sites/default/files/Our%20Code%20Our%20Standards%20web%20booklet%20FINAL.pdf
Gay, G. (2002). Preparing for culturally responsive teaching. Journal of Teacher Education, 53(2),106-116.
Mader, R., (2012). I am the river image. Retrieved from https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8449/8026468001_52ccae79e3_b.jpg
Maori Television, (n.d.) Mauri Ora - Healing Our Spirits Worldwide image. Retrieved from http://www.maoritelevision.com/news/regional/healing-our-spirits-worldwide-welcomes-mauri-ora-theme
Milne, A. (2017). Core Education: Colouring in the White Spaces: Reclaiming Cultural Identity in Whitestream Schools. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cTvi5qxqp4
Open Society Archives (1956). The Impact of Communism on Hungary. Retrieved from http://osaarchivum.org/files/holdings/300/8/3/text/30-2-125.shtml
Tātaiako (2011 ). Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Maori Learners. Ministry of Education. Retrieved from https://educationcouncil.org.nz/required/Tataiako.pdf
Wikipedia (n.d.). Cultural Hegemony. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_hegemony
Willemse, T., (1973). Me with sculpture of Vladimir Lenin (Photo).
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