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Te Hiringa i te Mahara Research Report

Tuesday July 6 1999.
Press Release:

Te Hiringa i te Mahara Research Report

Maori secondary school teachers are highly motivated to do well for their pupils, schools and communities but long hours in the classroom and community work are linked to high levels of stress.

Stress was increased for Maori secondary schoolteachers who take responsibility for the performance of Maori pupils in all subjects and school activities, not just those for which they, as individual teachers, are responsible. Maori secondary school teachers also feel a responsibility to promote te reo even in teaching environments which provide little support.

These are the main results from a comprehensive research report prepared for the Ministry of Education aimed at understanding workload issues for Maori secondary school teachers.

The report, which studied 300 secondary school teachers, is part of a multi-year project, Te Hiringa i te Mahara (the Power of the Mind), being managed for the Ministry by contractors Gardiner and Parata and carried out by the International Research Institute for Indigenous Education based at Auckland University.

“Saving their pupils, saving their culture and saving their reo is just too big a burden for people who have little control in schools other than in their own classrooms,” said Project Director Apryll Parata-Blane.

“The results the report describes suggest the Te Hiringa I te Mahara project is on the right track with its approach to assisting Maori secondary school teachers with techniques which allow them to better manage the stresses of their workplaces. The project is about empowering and supporting Maori teachers to take control of their individual work situation.”

“Maori secondary school teachers found aspects of their classroom and administrative roles the most burdensome tasks they faced. Those are the areas in which we have concentrated our efforts in providing resources or ‘interventions’ which allow teachers to reduce stress.”

The first set of ‘interventions’ were developed late last year and have been available to Maori secondary school teachers since the beginning of the first term of 1999.

The main research report covers all aspects of Maori secondary teachers’ workloads, job satisfaction, health, community and other extra-curricular activities. It also deals with their intentions to remain in the teaching profession or seek other roles.

A summary of the report will be distributed to Maori secondary school teachers. The full report will be distributed to teachers who participated in the research and be available on request from the Ministry of Education.

The second round of interventions is focussed on greater access to resources and professional development for Maori teachers, especially improving skills in Te Reo Maori and information/communication technology. Improvement in the latter area will allow teachers to make effective use of information and communication technology in school administration and learning programmes.

The interventions will also be continually assessed to determine their effect on workload related issues for Maori secondary school teachers, said Apryll Parata-Blane.

“The assessment will be done in partnership with the people most affected, the teachers. The initial interventions were set up in partnership with them. This whole project is about constructing teaching and administrative tools that will allow them to manage their lives as teachers and the expectations of their communities. It is about empowering and enabling, not handing out instructions.”

ENDS

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