Te aromihi pouako e puta ai ngā ihu o ngā ākonga Māori

Identifying professional learning needs: What to use

Resources to support leaders of professional learning with appraisal for learning.

Many of these resources were developed within professional learning projects known to have been successful in helping teachers contribute to improved Māori student achievement. They are based on the pedagogical content knowledge that teachers need as well as knowledge about how best to support teacher learning.

Tātaiako: Cultural competencies for teachers of Māori learners

Tātaiako: Cultural competencies for teachers of Māori learners  (Ministry of Education 2011) provides a framework that can support professional development and learning for teachers, leaders, and aspiring principals.

The framework identifies five competencies:

  • Wānanga: participating with learners and communities in robust dialogue for the benefit of Māori learners’ achievement
  • Whānaungatanga: actively engaging in respectful working relationships with Māori learners, parents, whānau, hapū, and iwi
  • Manaakitanga: showing integrity, sincerity, and respect towards Māori beliefs, language, and culture
  • Tangata whenuatanga: affirming Māori learners as Māori, providing contexts for learning where the language, identity, and culture of Māori learners and their whānau is affirmed
  • Ako: taking responsibility for their own learning and that of Māori learners.

 Within each competency are indicators at four levels:

  • entry to initial teacher education
  • graduating teachers
  • certified teachers
  • leaders.

Supporting the indicators are possible outcomes expressed as examples of learner voice and of whānau voice.

Resources from Te Kotahitanga

The Te Kotahitanga project  is based on knowledge gained through listening to the voices of Māori students. Groups of Māori students told researchers for Te Kotahitanga that the main influence on their educational achievement was the quality of the relationships and interactions that they had with their teachers. If teachers are to break old cycles of Māori underachievement, they need to theorise very differently about their Māori students and their own ability to support them to lift their achievement.

These three resources from Te Kotahitanga may be helpful for school leaders and teachers in identifying professional learning needs during appraisal.

The Te Kotahitanga Effective Teacher Profile

The profile is founded on the principle that effective teachers of Māori students create a culturally appropriate and responsive context for learning in their classroom.

Effective teachers of Māori students:

a. positively and vehemently reject deficit theorising as a means of explaining Māori students’ educational achievement levels
b. know and understand how to bring about change in Māori students’ educational achievement and are professionally committed to doing so in the following observable ways:

  • Manaakitanga – teachers care for their students as culturally located human beings above all else.
  • Mana motuhake – teachers care for the performance of their students.
  • Ngā whakapiringatanga – teachers are able to create a secure, well-managed learning environment.
  • Wānanga – teachers are able to engage in effective teaching interactions with Māori students as Māori.
  • Ako – teachers can use strategies that promote effective teaching interactions and relationships with their learners.
  • Kotahitanga – teachers promote, monitor, and reflect on outcomes that in turn lead to improvements in educational achievement for Māori students.

The Te Kotahitanga  research team for constructed the Effective Teacher Profile based on evidence, including from inquiry into the perspectives of caregivers, principals, and teachers. It is the role of professional development to support teachers to make the necessary changes in their theories and practices.

Te Kotahitanga observation tool

Te Kotahitanga professional development programme’s observation tool  (See  Appendix A, pages 207-209) is linked directly to the Effective Teacher Profile. Observers and teachers use the tool to gather and record evidence about teachers’ relationships and interactions with their Māori students, including the teaching strategies used to promote learning. In each class, observers pay particular attention to what is happening for five Māori students previously identified by the teacher.

As soon as possible after the observation, the teachers and observer conduct a feedback meeting. These follow the protocols of professional learning conversations, with the evidence collected during the observation being used to help the teacher reflect on his or her own practice. The facilitator provides feedback and feedforward while also prompting the teacher’s own reflection. Together they co-construct a professional learning goal for the teacher to work towards. They use PSIRPEG, one half of Te Kotahitanga’s GEPRISP/PSIRPEG professional development model, to identify a goal that will support the teacher to work towards improving Māori student achievement.

(Note: For schools participating in Te Kotahitanga, observation records are not used in appraisal unless the teacher chooses to bring their personal notes.)

Te Kotahitanga GEPRISP/PSIRPEG framework

Te Kotahitanga’s professional development model is structured around the GEPRISP/PSIRPEG framework.


The GOAL to improve Māori students’ educational achievement, is the beginning and end point of this model and remains at all times the central feature or kaupapa of Te Kotahitanga.

Understanding Māori students’ educational EXPERIENCES is a prelude to professional development facilitators understanding how to challenge teachers’ theoretical POSITIONING in relation to Māori students’ achievement.

From these understandings the need to develop positive RELATIONSHIPS with Māori students becomes apparent and conducive to supporting in-class INTERACTIONS and introducing STRATEGIES into the classroom that will enhance learning outcomes for Māori students. For this to take place, PLANNING is essential.


PLANNING incorporates discursive STRATEGIES in the classroom that will change:

  • teachers’ INTERACTIONS with students and vice versa
  • students’ interactions with each other, with their learning and thus with the curriculum.

As a result of these changes, RELATIONSHIPS between teachers and students will change. Different relationships will affirm or challenge existing teacher POSITIONING with regard to Māori students’ educational EXPERIENCES within the education system, thus leading to the GOAL of raising Māori students’ achievement.

Resources supporting Our Code Our Standards

Our Code Our Standards – The Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand website contains resources to unpack what it means to be a part of the profession and what the Code and Standards | Ngā Tikanga Matatika, Ngā Paerewa look like brought to life.

Improving learning conversations with teachers

The Literacy Professional Development Project (LPDP) observation tool was designed to facilitate discussions around classroom observations in which teachers are supported to identify their strengths and potential areas for growth.

When schools entered the project, the facilitator, principal, and literacy leaders conducted a needs analysis, which included using information from the observations to “identify syndicate and school wide patterns of teaching strengths and professional learning needs” and “identify sites of effective practice”. This information was used to make decisions about the kinds of literacy pedagogical content knowledge that needed to be built. 

The observation tool was found to be effective in conveying messages across the system (from the Ministry of Education and LPDP project leaders and facilitators to school leaders and teachers) and was well used by facilitators and school leaders (Timperley and Parr, 2009).

You can read more about the principles underpinning LPDP’s observation tool by downloading the research summary 

Effective facilitation: Understanding and improving learning conversations with teachers (PDF, 406 KB)

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