Link to the video
Hana O'Regan laid down a challenge to New Zealand educators in her keynote at uLearn 18 this week. She asked us to tell stories, stories that have not been told; in reality, stories that in the past were not allowed to be told.
Hana proposed that cultural narratives impact our self-perception. She questioned the negativity within stories from our cultural legacy that our ākonga are hearing and described their potential impact on young Maori. As teachers, we can help to reverse this effect by acknowledging the role these negative messages have and talking about where they have come from. We can then work towards filling in the historical gaps and actively sharing the positives. A good place to start might be drawing attention to the notably high levels of Maori literacy in colonial times (for example the 47 Maori language newspapers in circulation) and sharing examples of pioneering Maori academics as inspirational role models.
So how can we rise to Hana's challenge within our learning community ACCOS?
What can we do to build positive self-belief in our Maori students?
How can we extend this concept to the multi-cultural context of our schools?
Let us "be brave" (Hana's words); we must reflect on the cultural narrative that is shared in our classrooms and positively override the stereotypes by telling the stories that count.
Let us and our students find stories about our local area and about successful alumni from our schools and share them with each other.
Let us empower our students so that they are creating their own future narratives of success.
Tō reo ki te raki, tō mana ki te whenua
Let your story be heard in the heavens, And your mana be restored to the land