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Mentor project to retain new Māori medium teachers

Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Mentor project to retain new Māori medium teachers

Developing mentoring opportunities to retain new teachers in Māori language immersion schools and classes is the focus of a major government-funded project by researchers at Massey University’s Centre for Educational Development.

With a $2.3 Ministry of Education contract, the team is investigating why 70 per cent of new teachers in Māori medium schools leave their positon within three years compared with 30 per cent of new teachers in English language schools, and what can be done to reverse the trend.

Project leader Heneriata Milner (Ngāti Porou), a facilitator of Professional Learning at the Institute of Education’s Centre for Educational Development, says three pilot projects covering Māori language immersion schools and classes will explore ways to grow mentoring capabilities within communities, iwi and schools in an effort to increase the retention of new teachers.

She says factors behind the low retention rate included a lack of pedagogical support as well as a lack of trained mentors and cohesive system of mentoring to ensure new teachers met the 12 criteria for registration after two years of teaching.

She says their work is urgent. “If we don’t address this, there’s a high risk of losing talented young teachers from the sector.”

In the first project they will work with Ngāti Porou on the East Coast where up to 30 new teachers will be involved. The researchers will examine the impact that iwi/hapu involvement in the induction and mentoring of teachers has on retention.

For the second project they will work with Whakatane-based indigenous university Te Whare Wänanga o Awanuiärangi – which provides teacher training – to identify how to best strengthen the transition from in-service to the first two years of teaching to improve retention.

The third project focuses on the particular challenges for new Māori medium teachers in wharekura and rumaki classes (secondary school level), and the retention issues there.

Ms Milner and her co-faciliators Rahera Filiata (Hamoa,Tuhoe), and Roberta Kaiwai-Paterangi (Ngāti Porou, Ngaruahinerangi), will meet with kaiako (teachers), tumuaki (principals), ākonga (students) and whänau in the designated regions and schools over the coming months to find out about current practices, and what is needed. Their research will be used to develop and trial new processes, and will inform policy at a national level.

Ms Milner says the three-year project is “groundbreaking and exciting. It offers a chance to make a real difference for beginning teachers and their students,” she says.

The Centre for Educational Development has worked on a number of Ministry of Education contracts across a diverse range of language and culturally-focussed education initiatives.

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