Horomia Speech: Te Akatea Māori Principals Conf.
Parekura Horomia Speech:
Te Akatea Māori Principals Conference 2006 Rangimarie Marae, Rangiotu, Palmerston North
Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. The kaupapa of your conference is Te Pikikotuku: Accelerated Leadership. This kaupapa is very important to ensure learning opportunities for not only tamariki Maori but also all learners in Aotearoa.
I want to begin this mihi by thanking you for your continued contribution as principals and school leaders to the educational outcomes of our young people. Your commitment, enthusiasm, courage and energy are central to the improvement of our schools as we seek to build upon our success to become a truly world class education system.
Government goals for New Zealand and its Education System This government is seeking to transform New Zealand over the next decade, and leadership is central to achieving this goal.
We want to become a much smarter country, a knowledge based country that generates its wealth by adding value to everything that we do. And we need to ensure that all shares the benefits of this transformation.
The best way to achieve transformation is through education. The development of a confident knowledge society means the development of new skills and capabilities. It requires a culture of continuous inquiry, innovation and improvement, risk taking and entrepreneurship. As Maori leaders you bring a perspective, which is unique, and a voice, which needs to be heard.
We currently have a number of challenges if we are to reach these goals.
Our iwi, whanau and communities have high expectations and requirements of the education system. They require a system that is responsive to their and their children’s needs. They require education to ensure that students have the skills and knowledge essential for their well being as Māori, and to enable them to succeed in a global economy.
Currently however, not all students are succeeding in our education system, and Māori children make up a concerning proportion of those whose needs are not being met.
While data shows some recent improvement in Māori education outcomes, we have to achieve improved performance.
An important part of managing this change as principals and school leaders is to continue to create the conditions that ensure that every child can learn in a way that meets their needs.
These conditions include a positive school culture where children, teachers, whanau, and the community are valued for the knowledge and skills they bring.
Central to these conditions is also a curriculum, which meets the needs of the students, while utilising community resources.
The Ministry of Education is currently reviewing the English and Maori medium curricula. As at 2007, together these will make up the New Zealand schools curriculum although they will continue to be two separate documents.
My colleague, Steve Maharey, the Minister of Education, released the new draft curriculum consultation document last month for English medium settings and I hope you have had a chance to look at it. Included in this document is the new learning area of languages. Te Reo Maori is part of the this area and forms part of the group of second languages that schools are required to offer their students in years 7 to 10.
The Marauding o Aotearoa, the Maori Medium curriculum consultation document for levels one and two, is due to be released mid 2007. We have revised the curriculum to ensure teachers have the flexibility they need to create learning contexts that are most relevant for their students by:
Refining and clarifying learning outcomes – the current seven curriculum documents will become one and the language will set a clear direction for students' learning; Focussing on effective teaching to meet the needs of all learners; Strengthening school ownership of the curriculum to ensure that they are responsive to the needs of learners; and Supporting schools to enhance communication with parents and communities.
The development of the New Zealand Curriculum has been informed by a set of overarching kaupapa Maori principles. These have included:
Matauranga Maori – Maori knowledge systems in an education setting; Maori philosophy – the philosophical approached that need to be considered to support learning; and Maori pedagogy – the teaching practice.
The inclusion of Maori teaching, learning and knowledge systems in the revised curricula will better support positive learning outcomes for all learners. This process also provides a vehicle to achieve the Maori educational advancement goals stated by Mason Durie at Hui Taumata 2001, which are:
To live as Maori To actively participate as citizens of the world To enjoy good health and a high standard of living
I see this as being very important in encouraging and supporting our young people as they move through our education system and on to work.
I’d like to look now at the Māori Education Strategy At the Hui Taumata Matauranga in 2004, Mason Durie raised the question of whether a further transformative experience was needed over the next 20 years for Māori education.
He saw this as requiring a move to greater consistency to attain uniformly high levels of Māori achievement that would provide a sound platform for full participation in a changing world.
In seeking to strengthen the Māori Education Strategy in this way, we need to start with the evidence about what makes strong gains for Māori student in all schools. Your experience as school leaders is an important and valuable part of this evidence base.
The evidence to date suggests that what is required is for all Māori students to experience effective teaching and learning at both home and school. I doubt that that will surprise any of you.
And for effective teaching to be achieved in a consistent way across and within schools, we need to continue to build upon the strong foundation of school leadership you have laid, while working to nurture our school leaders of the future.
School Leadership that Supports Māori Achievement The conference organisers have put together the programme with the aim of challenging, informing and motivating participants to be like Te Pikikotuku- the flight of the white heron that rises beyond the foliage of everyday existence.
The soaring flight transforms the heron into a new world. Enabling our children to soar is where our challenge lies.
Leadership at every level of the system is crucial if we are to achieve this vision. And it is your leadership, which sustains our children’s learning. As such, professional educational leadership and the professional development of school leaders is a key driver for effecting change.
Professional development programmes such as Te Kotahitanga, that challenge teachers’ and school leaders’ beliefs and support effective teaching strategies, are particularly effective in changing practice in the mainstream.
Evidence from research into the outcomes of Te Kotahitanga suggests that a school wide approach, where you as leaders focus on raising teacher expectations and enhancing pedagogy, is one of the best ways to achieve positive change.
But teachers can only be fully effective when they are well supported, mentored and led. Therefore we consider it very important that you have access to professional development.
Principal Development Before I outline what the Ministry of Education is doing in the area of professional development for principals I’d like to share a story with you.
Debbie Marshall-Lobb, the Principal of Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Manawatu and a co convenor of this conference, has written up her experience with Quality Learning Circles (QLCs). Debbie’s full story is on the Ministry’s LeadSpace website so you might want to go and look at it. Debbie attended a course at the Principal and Leadership Centre at Massey University, where she was introduced to the idea of QLCs. She also came away convinced that the principal plays a really powerful role in terms of shaping the culture within the kura, the unique community and environment. She seized on the idea of QLCs to allow the staff of the new kura to focus on what is important. And she says “I presented what QLCs were all about and why I thought that they would be useful in our kura, specifically to get professional colleagues to enter into dialogue and put greater focus on the learning and teaching. The QLC concept fits in with the Māori medium framework of sharing ideas and being open and transparent about what we think”. The outcome of the project was very successful and she comments “One of the great spin-offs was that it got people using the computers and modelling that use for the children. It also allowed us to up-skill our teachers and work towards learning how to integrate ICT within the curriculum.”
Debbie’s experience highlights the importance of professional development for principals. It gave her some new tools to share with staff and the confidence to use them, and it gave the staff an opportunity to be involved in the development of the school in well led creative forums and to develop their own skill further.
The Ministry of Education funds two national programmes for principal development to provide principals with a lift at critical points in their career paths.
These are the First Time Principals induction programme for beginning principals, and the Principals’ Development and Planning Centres for experienced principals.
Both these programmes are focussed on supporting and developing principals.
As many of you will know, a key theme at each Residential Course for First Time Principals is leading learning to improve Māori student achievement and engagement.
At the first residential course, beginning principals visit a school that is doing particularly well in promoting learning and responding to the potential of Māori students. At the second course, Apryll Parata talks to the group about the Māori worldview and connecting with Tikanga. And on the final course, Russell Bishop discusses what has been learned about school leadership to raise achievement from the Te Kotahitanga project.
The Principals Development and Planning Centre provides another development opportunity for experienced principals. Each principal is assessed and evaluated against eleven leadership dimensions, one of which is responsiveness to diversity. These dimensions are equally important, there is no hierarchy, as we believe all principals need to reach an equally high standard in all dimensions. Responsiveness to diversity, as one dimension, receives a very strong reaction as it insists on principals thinking and acting differently about how they will strengthen their leaderships in this area. The PDPC provides all the great conditions for learning – a bit of a stretch, challenge and a little kick along with the right amount of encouragement and care.
In May this year, a specialist Centre was organised for Kura Tumuaki. Five tumuaki participated. The general feeling was that the current programme would need some modification to better meet the needs of the KKM Tumuaki. Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Waiu principal Phil Heeney says one of the real benefits for him as a participate in May this year was the opportunity to take time out of a very busy schedule and have time to reflect in a structured manner.
"In the day to day life of a principal there are a lot of issues running around in your mind, but you don't get the time to sit down and be really strategic about your thinking. The centre gave me the opportunity to reflect on them in a structured way."
PDPC creates a strong culture of partnership and collaboration where principals identify areas of strength and possible development needs to strengthen their leadership.
PDPC is about changing behaviour and attitudes, and helping principals to understand the effect their behaviour has on how well they'll manage their workload and how well they manage the people they work with. There are two other important projects that will help us chart our flight ahead as we work to accelerate school leadership for transformation.
The quality teaching, research and development practice (QTRD) project is supporting schools where teachers are working to improve outcomes for Māori and Pasifika students. It also contributes to our knowledge of evidence based learning approaches through action research. Ten ‘hubs’ of school clusters will help us identify approaches to support quality teaching for all students.
The Leadership Best Evidence Synthesis (BES) project will help identify what school leaders need to do to improve leaning outcomes for all students. Margie Hohepa from the University of Auckland is working within the Leadership BES research team to scope what we know currently about Māori learning and school leadership. Margie is looking in particular for three main types of evidence:
What works for Māori learners in both Māori medium and English medium settings; What types of leadership practices impact positively on Māori learners and whanau; What are Māori understandings of leadership generally, and how this evidence might be useful in improving Māori educational outcomes.
Together, these two projects will provide us with further information for considering how we might improve outcomes for Māori students.
Conclusion It is clear that much is going on within Education. It is just as clear that we have much more to do before Te Kotuku can soar.
Your challenge as education leaders is to continue to encourage, mentor and assist your teachers to be the best they can, so that our students can attain their potential.
Our challenge is to ensure that we provide you with the conditions and tools to continue to do your job with the passion and energy you have already displayed.
And for all of us, our challenge is to make sure that everything is in place so that our tamariki can achieve their rightful place in society as successful and confident achievers, well supported by their whanau, their communities and their schools.
If we can meet those challenges, then we can achieve the kaupapa of this conference Te Pikikotuku, accelerated leadership for success for all.