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Ensuring success for all

Ensuring success for all

A team of researchers from The University of Auckland’s Success for All project have been recognised by the New Zealand Association for Research in Education (NZARE) for looking beyond the lecture theatre to better understand Māori and Pacific student success in degree-level study.

The team comprising Dr Airini, Dr Deidre Brown, Dr Elana Curtis, Fred Luatua, Mona O’Shea, Dr Te Oti Rakena, Gillian Reynolds, Tanya Savage, Pale Sauni, Angie Smith, Matthew Tarawa, Sonia Townsend-Fonu, Meryl Ulugia-Pua and Sofi Ulugia-Pua were awarded the NZARE Group Research Award and commended for the significance of their research for Māori and Pacific student teaching and learning. NZARE aims to foster excellence in educational research in New Zealand.

The multi-faceted five-year research project identified how university teaching helps or hinders the success of Māori and Pacific tertiary students completing their degrees. The collaboration between the faculties of Education, Medical and Health Sciences, the National Institute of Creative Arts and Industries and the University’s Career Centre looked at how specific non-lecture activities such as tutorials, mentoring and induction programmes and careers services supported Māori and Pacific student success.

Drawing on over 1,950 accounts of teaching experiences, Success for All is the first study of its kind to describe Māori and Pacific student experiences of teaching in non-lecture settings and identified specific teaching and learning practices to support and enhance student success.

“How we teach in our small groups with Māori and Pasifika students in our universities is our future as a nation in miniature, and has major implications for New Zealand’s overall future” said Dr Airini, project leader and Head of the School of Critical Studies in Education. “We’re so pleased to receive this award and that the students’ voices at the centre of this research have been heard. The quality of teaching practices identified through the research has huge potential to help universities ensure Māori and Pasifika students achieve at least on par with other learners.”

The research culminated in the development of a Toolkit of Promising Practices for university teaching, which is being used for a number of national and international initiatives. Tatou Tatou investigated how university teaching can help or hinder Māori student success in medical and health sciences. Te Ara Kakena looked into teaching practices with postgraduate students studying Music, Architecture and Fine Arts, in New Zealand, Canada and the USA.

Building on their strong publication record, the Success for All project will be shared through a forthcoming publication with the New Zealand Council for Educational Research entitled Uni teaching: Māori and Pasifika stories of uni teaching and student success.


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