Makeup Artistry Lecturer Riki Anderson (Ngāti Kahungunu ki Tamatea) became a Te Atakura
Coach in 2016. Since then he has accepted a full-time Lead Coach position, splitting his time between UCOL’s Wairarapa and Palmerston North campuses.
The aim of Te Atakura is to increase Māori student success, by specifically and intentionally creating a relationship-based teaching, learning and working environment. Research shows the approach benefits all students by creating a family-like learning context in classrooms, using interactive practices, and using student feedback to drive a change in teaching practice.
The role of a Te Atakura Coach is to support teachers to reflect on their practice. They do this by facilitating observation cycles (pre observation meetings, observation, post observation meeting) and co-construction meetings, where evidence is examined and individual and teaching team goals are set to support the improvement of students’ educational outcomes.
Riki admits when he first became involved with Te Atakura he was apprehensive about the programme.
“I’d been teaching for 12 years in total, and I’d seen lots of success in my classrooms but could never actually recognise why, or what was going on.”
“After the first coaching experience I suddenly had theories to back up my teaching practice. I’m now recognising what I’m doing, and then sharpening it – I’m always building on my own practice.”
Riki says that the success he’s seen in his own classrooms proves that Te Atakura works for Māori and increases the educational outcomes for all students.
“I think as a Māori Lecturer it is intrinsic in our values and culture to teach in this way. Te Atakura shares values with Māoritanga; it’s for everyone. To teach in this whānau-based context, it helps everyone. And the thing is, you don’t have to be Māori – culture is not just ethnicity, it’s a lot more, and everyone can tap into the strengths from their own culture to help others.”
He believes the challenges faced in classrooms are similar at all levels and across different subject matters, and that Kotahitanga – a collaborative response to a common vision – is important.
In the Te Atakura programme, what this looks like in the classroom is students and teachers having a shared understanding of what is required for their success, and understanding that student success is the top priority. Students can be themselves
“With Te Atakura, there’s no threat. It’s empowering to have words and theories to define what needs to be done. It’s also about Ako - effective teaching interactions and power-sharing; you have to have the confidence to let go of control, so students can learn from each other and formatively assess each other. Showing vulnerability is important, to build trust. You’ve got to take the time to be vulnerable, as well as to reflect on practice and celebrate success.”
“The waves from reflection strengthen everywhere, and we can become even more unified. I think modelling communities of practice is important, mixing lecturers together and sharing experiences.”
Riki enjoys the challenges that come with being a Lead Coach, and is excited about helping further implement Te Atakura values across all levels of UCOL.
“In 2018 we are building our sustainability by developing our current Papa Tuawhā lecturers, those on the fourth level of Te Atakura. We’re also commited to implementing our GIPILSEO model, which monitors learners’ progress and the impact of the processes of learning. This will continue to surface and challenge deficit theorizing at all levels and shift Kaimahi and Tauira (staff and students) into a culture of ownership.”
He waka eke noa.
We’re all in this together.