Deciding between Cultural Identity or 'Success' in Physical Education: De-Scribing Attidudes and Values
Salter, George, Journal of Physical Education New Zealand
'Health and Physical Education in the New Zealand Curriculum' (Ministry of Education, 1999)foregrounds the fostering of 'constructive' attitudes and values, as a fundamental contribution to the individual's well-being, the well-being of others and that of society as a whole. However, what particular `attitudes and values' might be important to various individuals and cultural groups, is a significant question. Our understandings are shaped by the cultural symbols and social structures in which our lived experiences are embedded. For Maori students, cultural scripts available from within a lived Maori world are shaped by a matrix of attitudes, beliefs, needs, values, customs and other concepts that are the essence of Maori culture itself. Understandings from within this world may conflict with those expressed in the official text of the HPE curriculum, which is founded on Western conceptions of knowledge, teaching and learning. They may also conflict with understandings of teachers and other students, whose beliefs and practices are predicated on the dominant discourses of the majority culture. In this paper I discuss the foregrounding of particular `attitudes and values' in the document, and explore issues surrounding their relevance in Maori cultural contexts.
Learning involves the active engagement of individuals with their environment (Rovegno and Kirk, 1995), so that rather than merely receiving and internalising information they actively appropriate it (Kirshner and Whitson, 1998). In this process they adapt new knowledge to fit what they already know (Prawat, 1999), so that as Resnick and Clopfer (1992; p. 4) suggest, ".... to know something is not just to have received information, but also to have interpreted and related it to other knowledge". Learning is also constructed and constituted by interaction between what Giddens (1984) describes as the structuring properties of the society or community in which the school is located, and the cultural resources that young people bring with them to school (Kirk and MacPhail, 2000). Providing 'authentic' learning experiences that are valued by Maori learners in school physical education might be problematic, since `being Maori' provides particular cultural resources that impact on and shape the sense students make from their lived experiences. The subsequent interpretation and the meanings they make of these in the development of their own self identity and in constructing 'appropriate' attitudes and values, are likely to be informed at least in part by a Maori epistemology and ontology that might well be quite different from those of teachers and students of the dominant culture.
Clearly one of the central thrusts of the new Health and Physical Education in the New Zealand Curriculum is the development of self in society. The opening paragraph of the document's introduction, for example, states:
... students will develop the knowledge, skills, attitudes and motivation to make informed decisions and act in ways that contribute to their personal well-being, the well-being of other people, and that of society as a whole.
Ministry of Education, 1999; p.6.
In this paper, I want to examine issues surrounding the relevance and meanings of the attitudes and values expressed in that document, to Maori. In particular, I want to explore some of the tensions that might exist for Pakeha (non-Maori, of predominantly English/European descent) physical education teachers in mainstream education, were they to uncritically apply their own (dominant cultural) understandings of such constructs to the behaviours and practices of Maori students. Cazden (1988) and Tharp (1989) argue that educational achievement is in part determined by the degree to which classroom discourse is compatible with students' culture of origin. Maori students in New Zealand mainstream education might well experience feelings of alienation and identity compromise through being judged according to commonsense views of supposedly 'normal' development and achievement, so that as Durie (1997) argues:
Compulsory exposure to the cultural and ideological practices of the dominating society expressed through the formal agencies of the state such as schools ... places Maoriness in jeopardy. Not only is going to school compulsory, but once there, teachers have the power to determine how children act and to change what they think. In a non-Maori school environment, learners have often unwittingly to decide between cultural identity or school success ... schools can end up as places where the values and practices of the dominant sector prevail at the expense of the nondominant, to the disadvantage of those Maori learners whose identity is not affirmed by the content and contexts for learning.
Durie, 1997; p.155.
Durie's contention that learners might have to decide between cultural identity or school success in mainstream schooling is disturbing, given that The New Zealand Curriculum Framework (Ministry of Education, 1993) clearly identifies teachers' responsibilities in recognising and addressing inequalities, and ensuring that learning opportunities are not restricted:
... the school curriculum will recognise, respect, and respond to the educational needs, experiences, interests, and values of all students; both female and male students; students of all ethnic groups; students with different abilities and disabilities; and students of different social and religious backgrounds.
Ministry of Education, 1993; p.7.
In this article I explore a number of issues that relate to the differences between both the experiences of Maori students in mainstream education in relation to students of the dominant culture, and the sense made of those experiences because of ontological and epistemological differences between the two cultural groups.
Limits of 'the truth'
Any discussion of a `Maori world view' is problematic, in that Maori people themselves would likely argue for a tribally-based rather than generic `pan-Maori' culture and identity (Hohepa, 1975). While the term 'Maoritanga' (things Maori, 'Maoriness') has widespread usage to denote a generic view of traditional or 'classical' Maori culture, this is arguably a convenient label applied by early settlers that still has currency in contemporary society. Rangihau (1975, p. 232) also suggests that Maoritanga was a term coined by Pakeha in earlier times, to bring the tribes together so that they could be more easily subdued and ruled. Tikanga (traditional values), kaupapa (traditional protocols and agendas), whakapapa (genealogical descent) kawa ('right' ways of doing things) and history itself are all tribally specific, to such an extent that it would be more meaningful to talk of 'Tainuitanga' or `Te Arawatanga' (Tainui and Te Arawa are two North Island, New Zealand Maori tribes). Tait (1988) suggests that:
... any idea ofa national Maori history does not exist in Maori terms. Identity is tribal, whakapapa is tribal, as are customs and beliefs. Any attempt to look for rational commonality in detail is to impose a Pakehadesire for a simple structure which does not and did not exist.
Tait, 1988; p.8.
However, while there are many dialectical and historical nuances of differences between tribes, there are also many similarities between groups in the importance attached to cultural symbols, beliefs and values enacted on a daily basis. My discussion might be seen therefore as a representation of the general, though it may not necessarily be accurate for any particular individual or group.
It is also problematic to assume that all people who identify themselves as Maori have similar understandings and beliefs about what this means. It would be a mistake to limit an understanding of Maori culture to a particular period of the past, or to assume that all individuals interact with their cultural heritage in similar ways (Metge, 1990a). There is no one Maori cultural stereotype, and being Maori can have quite different meanings for various individuals and groups (Durie, 1998). Maori are as diverse as any other people, not only in personal qualities but also in fundamental attitudes to identity. Webster (1998) suggests further that `Maori culture' as an ideology should be distinguished from the Maori culture that is enacted in daily life by the majority of Maori people in New Zealand.
In discussing particular attitudes, beliefs, values and practices of a lived Maori world, I might appear to position these as 'other' in relation to those of the dominant culture. In apparently representing such constructs as binary opposites, I am in fact attempting to facilitate understanding from within a lived world predicated upon dominant (Pakeha) discourses. Of course, while this might seem reasonable from a Pakeha perspective, from within a lived Maori world these and other notions such as 'knowledge','relationships', `identity and self-worth' and `well-being' are so intertwined as to be virtually inseparable (Salter, 2000a). They form a matrix of understandings that are fundamental to the discourses of that world, and are so enmeshed with a Maori sense of spirituality as to be a `way of being' rather than a `way of knowing'. For Maori this spiritual dimension plays an important part in the cultural strength of education. This does not mean promoting formal religious dogma, but rather in attending to the development and well-being of the whole person and the integration and balancing of all aspects of their lives, including the physical, emotional, intellectual, and social (Penetito, 1996; p.4).
`Being Maori' is embedded in the sense Maori students might make from their lived experiences, and is an important construct in the ways that they negotiate meanings in health and physical education (Salter, 1999a). Such meanings derive from the quite different views of Pakeha and traditional Maori worlds with regard to what counts as knowledge, what its purposes and outcomes are supposed to be, and how it might be disseminated (Salter, 2000b). I offer two brief stories` to illustrate potential complexities at the intersections of culture, identity and knowledge, as a way of framing my subsequent arguments.
Hemi, you're going to 'fail' this assessment task ...
Some years ago I was working with a group of Year 12 students on kayaking skills and drills in moving water, prior to taking a trip down-river. Hemi was getting frustrated as he kept capsizing in the eddies. I was surprised - his preliminary flat-water drills had gone well, and Hemi was a great athlete, strong, fit and well co-ordinated. He was captain of the school basketball and softball teams, played rugby for the First XV, and was probably the best volleyball player of school age I had seen - a 'natural' at learning new skills, and with a great attitude that made him a `dream student'. I suddenly realised that Hemi had hauled his kayak onto the bank, and stripped off his wetsuit and buoyancy aid - he had decided to quit! No argument of mine would change his mind - I appealed to his sense of determination in the face of challenge, his commitment to the rest of the group, the possible consequences of his failing to complete an assessable task - all fell on deaf ears. Eventually I said, "Hemi, the truck has left - you'd have to carry the boat all the way down-river (about 6 kilometres) to the exit point". He replied, "No problem - the run will be good for my fitness training!" His reasoning was straightforward, though at the time it did not connect with my own view of what was "right and proper" behaviour in this context - "I'm just not enjoying this, it's not fun".
Mihi, I don't want you to only pass to your friends...
More recently, I was conducting trials for a girls' `Under 16' basketball team that I would be coaching at an inter-provincial tournament. After the second trial I 'cut' Mihi from the team. She was a good ball-handler, was quick and played pretty sound defence, however, I reasoned that I had other guards to choose from that could fit more easily into my proposed team patterns, to form the squad into an effective unit in the time we had available before the tournament. Also, while she was a good passer of the ball, Mihi did have a disturbing habit of predominantly passing to her two friends, and she tended to fire the ball at the hoop pretty much every time she caught sight of it. So, Mihi didn't come to subsequent practices - but neither did her two friends, who had made the cut and were the most useful players in the squad. It took me a while to pin all three players down to a face-to-face discussion, during which I came to understand that, for them, being in the squad primarily represented an opportunity to `hang out' together doing something they enjoyed. Playing together - and travelling away to tournament - was their focus, rather than striving to become more skilful or seeking status through representing their province.
Beyond the preferred reading
I confess that at the time of these two incidents, a priority in my professional life was the development of particular physical skills, and I probably thought I had the answer to the question of what `effective teaching and coaching' might look like in contemporary physical activity and sport settings. Jenny Gore (1990), however, argues for pedagogical practices that are reflexive. Such reflexivity might focus, for example, on creating positive learning environments, in particular through foregrounding student responsibility and ownership in the learning process (Salter, 1999b). This is expressed in Health and Physical Education in the New Zealand Curriculum as:
* responding sensitively to students' needs; * valuing the unique contribution of students from various cultural backgrounds; * providing experiences that support the development of positive attitudes, trust and mutual respect, and * using teaching and learning approaches that reinforce the development of a sense of personal and social responsibility (p.54).
We know that young people participate in sport and physical activity for different reasons, and that their pleasure derives from both intrinsic (for example, enjoyment of the use of skills) and extrinsic (for example, measuring self against others) sources (see Scanlan and Simons, 1992). The responses of both Mihi's two friends and Hemi were to me (at that time) unexpected and seemed 'inappropriate' - according to my particular discourses about achievement, commitment, and participation in physical activity. There might be a number of different ways of explaining why they chose to act as they did. For example, motivation theory might propose that Hemi's efforts were ego-oriented, and that his enjoyment and perceived success derived from (usually) demonstrating that he was 'better' than his peers, from `looking good' hence he withdrew from a situation that diminished his self-perceptions of competence. Sport socialisation theory might suggest that same-sex peer-group influences become increasingly significant during adolescence, so that Mihi and her friends, at age 15 or so, attached greater importance to their social role as 'friends', than they did to (my perceptions of) their role as `team-members'. Such theories offer us convenient (dominant cultural) ways of explaining observed behaviour, of `making sense' of what is identified as the 'problem' - and the students' behaviours I have described above really were problems to me, from my particular viewpoint at the time.
I have come to see, however, that these two stories are not (simply) instances of young Maori people 'failing' to comply with (my) expectations. Rather, they are examples of how individuals might make sense of the world of physical activity in ways that are different - but not necessarily less valid. I am not suggesting here that all Maori students `dance to a different beat', in that they invariably construct meanings that are different from those intended by the teacher (there are problems in over-simplifying and generalising about 'culture', as I indicated earlier). Neither do I suggest that for teachers to simply become more aware of such differences will necessarily act as an intervention in what Smith (1992) describes as a `Maori educational crisis'. However, The New Zealand Curriculum Framework (Ministry of Education, 1993) does identify the need for "... acknowledging the importance to all New Zealanders of both Maori and Pikeha traditions, histories, and values" (p.7). Consistent with this notion, Health and Physical Education in the New Zealand Curriculum (Ministry of Education, 1999) also places a clear emphasis on catering for the needs of all students, and advocates particularly for Maori students under the sub-heading of `cultural inclusiveness' (p.50).
As MacFarlane (2000), Salter (2000b), Vercoe (1997) and others have argued, in New Zealand the curriculum, teaching methodologies and teacher education associated with schooling tend to be based on a particular world view that does not always recognise or appreciate Maori concepts and values. As I have argued, students from a lived Maori world are likely to experience schooling, including experiences in physical activity and sport, in different ways to both students and teachers whose beliefs and lived experiences are informed by the discourses of the majority culture. For Maori students in school physical education, the cultural resources available in making sense of their lives are inscribed in the beliefs, values and attitudes that underpin two different world-views - Maori and Pakeha. These same beliefs, values and attitudes also generate the cultural scripts available to inform understandings of personal identity and self-worth, and what attitudes and values might be regarded as 'appropriate'.
For this reason, while there is a widely held belief that sport and physical activity can promote harmonious race relations and that cultural differences tend to disappear in the gymnasium, teachers and coaches need to recognise the impact that cultural identity and values have on students' experiences and interactions. Greendorfer (1992), for example, suggests that sport and physical activity can be a forum for the expression of cultural values, but since different environmental, cultural and social conditions shape both individuals' perceptions and the symbolic meanings they attach to any experience, it is likely that different value systems operate when individuals from different cultural groups play the same game or take part in the same activity. Participants bring expectations, goals and norms of their culture and social background to the sport and physical activity setting. These are likely to be observed in different playing styles, different attitudes towards competition, or in different reasons for participating in the first place, as illustrated in the two stories above. I want to explore implications of these differences, through the way that `attitudes and values' are addressed in the curriculum.
'Culturally relevant' attitudes and values, and the HPE curriculum
Health and Physical Education in the New Zealand Curriculum (pp. 56-57) defines 'attitude' as "a disposition to think or act in a certain way", and 'values' as "a person's principles or standards, judgements of what is valuable or important in life". The document asserts (p. 34) that programmes in health and physical education contribute to the well-being of individuals and society by promoting particular (constructive) attitudes and values. These include: tolerance, rangimarie (empathy, being at peace with oneself), and open-mindedness; co-operation and awhina (helping, assisting, befriending, providing moral support), and applying aroha (love, affectionate regard, compassion), manaakitanga, (hospitality, generosity), and mahi a ngakau (work of the heart, feelings). While I applaud the foregrounding of these and other attitudes and values in the curriculum, I believe that they might be understood by Maori in different ways to people of the dominant culture. BevanBrown (1996), for example, researched Maori perceptions of `special abilities', and demonstrated that personal qualities as well as abilities were valued highly. These values were seen to be broad and wide-ranging, and included spiritual, cognitive, affective, aesthetic, artistic, psychomotor, social, intuitive, creative, leadership and cultural abilities and qualities (p.94). Particular value was attached to those qualities related to the affective, interpersonal domain, including humility, sensitivity to others and service to others. While leadership was highly regarded, it was seen as important in the things that Maori people themselves valued most: aroha (a kindness to others); manaakitanga (an embracing of all people regardless of creed or race); whaikorero (speechmaking), and mana (in this context, a presence and respect among peers). Gibson (1992) too suggests particular philosophies and principles appropriate for total immersion Maori education, that rest strongly on the importance of mana (prestige, power or integrity). Every person is tapu (sacred), from infancy and throughout their whole life. No person should therefore ill-treat, criticise, belittle or envy any other, but should behave respectfully and with affection to all in deference to their personal mana. Both males and females have their own tapu, and active cooperation between them is required to lead to healthy development of both the individual and the wider iwi (tribe), as illustrated in the following pepeha (saying):
Kotiro he mokopuna koe na Hine-titama You are the grand-daughter of Hine-Mama (the first woman, and daughter of Taine, the first man)
Waiwai ana ngd karu te tirohanga atu. A vision at which the eyes fill with tears.
Clearly, literal translation of a Maori pepeha into English renders only a shallow understanding of its words as cultural symbols. Hine-titama, the Dawn Maid, was said to more beautiful than one could imagine. The saying therefore applies to a girl of great beauty, but also suggests that every female has her own inner beauty and carries the mana of being directly descended from Hine-titama. Bevan-Brown (1996) suggests further that no culture's concept of special abilities can stand alone, but rather is affected by:
... the myriad of attitudes, beliefs, needs, values, customs and other concepts that are the essence of the culture itself. In Maoridom, manaakitanga (the showing of kindness, hospitality and respect), aroha-ki-te-tangata (love of your fellow man/woman), whanaungatanga ("familiness"), wairua (spirituality) and awhinatanga (helping, assisting) are all very strong values and this is reflected in the importance placed on personal qualities and service to others.
Bevan-Brown, 1996; p. 97
I suggested earlier that such constructs are inter-connected, and this is well illustrated in Bevan-Brown's research by the strong relationship she proposes between special abilities and spirituality. Gibson (1992) too argues for the importance of wairua, and suggests that it communicates through the ngakau (heart). In a Maori world, speaking, challenging, anger, love and humility are all part of ngau, and combined are part of wairua. This gives rise to the saying "Kia ngakau mikahi" (have a humble heart) and validates the whakatauki (proverb) that introduces the HPE curriculum: "He oranga ngakau he pikinga waiora" (positive feelings in one's heart affirm a person's self-worth and encourage good health). In traditional (`classical Maori') times, spirituality was an important and integral part of Maori society, so that all knowledge was seen to have come from the gods and was passed on through tohunga (experts). Such god-given gifts were not to be used for personal pleasure or prestige, but rather for the benefit of whanau (family), hapu (sub-tribal group) and iwi (tribe). A person 'blessed' with such gifts was regarded as guardian rather than owner, with a responsibility to share and pass on and also a commitment to reciprocate and be accountable (Timutimu-Thorpe, 1998). Clearly an important value in this view is that of giving service to others, and in a contemporary context this might take the form of passing on particular skills to interested individuals, service to Maoridom in general, or caring for older/younger members of the extended whanau. In a physical activity and sport setting, this might be seen in peer-teaching, taking roles (umpire, coach, or manager) in, for example, sport education, and in providing leadership in whanau groups.
Connecting culture and identity in physical education
Metge (1976) defines culture as "... a system of symbols and meanings, in terms of which a particular group of people make sense of their worlds, communicate with each other, and plan and live their lives" (p. 45). Chepyator-Thomson (1994) suggests that culture serves as the fabric of one's being and includes language, beliefs, attitudes and patterns of behaviour. Culture clearly structures the world we perceive and the way we think, and the contexts of our lives are influential in producing who we are and who we become. Identity is a personal story, our own theory of who we are, which is "... a constantly changing reality - a dynamic process of being rather than something essential which is hidden somewhere inside us" (brewery and Winslade, 1997; p. 47). Lima and Lima (1998) argue further that culture itself is constituted by mediation systems in the development of self identity, and this in turn produces specific lived experiences in the learning processes at school. This has important implications for addressing the needs of students from other than the dominant culture in mainstream education, and they suggest:
That means we necessarily need to re-think pedagogy in the light of historical processes and culture becomes an inherent element of knowledge construction and not merely a pedagogical tool to improve learning in the case of differentiate groups within society (those usually referred to as minorities).
Lima and Lima, 1998; p. 321.
For Maori students in school physical education, cultural resources available in making sense of their lives also inform the processes developing self-identity. The tension here clearly lies in articulating what might be termed a "Maori cultural identity" and its place in an ever-changing postmodern educational context. Despite the apparent validity in postmodernity of multiple realities and multiple ways of knowing, not all realities and knowledges have equal legitimacy. The notion of 'Maoriness' itself can be misleading, as I suggested earlier, and can refer to both an ideological construct related to `classical Maori' discourses, and a culturally specific `way of being' enacted in daily life. In both senses, the term generally represents 'otherness' in relation to the dominant culture, a distinction that Ramsden (1995) illustrates:
Many young people carry a burden of self-doubt and shame for being Maori. Associated with this is another kind of guilt about not knowing how to be the kind of idealised Maori who is presented to them. This ideal is often represented as a man, competent on marae, confident in the language, saying profoundly classical things and striking warrior-like poses. The nurturing old kuia2, so wise, so close to the earth, so holistic, is almost impossible for many young Maori to attain.
Ramsden, 1995; p.112.
In a contemporary world of shifting cultural landscapes, precise definitions of identity for Maori become difficult to conceptualise, since cultural scripts and narrative resources available to inform both collective and individual identity are "... shaped by a multiplicity of factors arising from genealogical foundations" (Durie, 1997; p. 142). Durie identifies a significant decline in Maori custom and lifestyle as a basis for identity formation, through:
* Te reo Maori (the 'home' language) having been steadily and deliberately replaced as the medium of communication in schools;
* The rise to prominence and legitimacy of written communication forms, that diminished the retention of oral literacy skills necessary for accurate transmission of tribal history;
* New deities and religions that exposed Maori to new values and attitudes detrimental to an existing sense of community and responsibility which were essential to a 'classical' Maori identity, and
* An inter-generational discontinuity, where elders have not always considered members of the next generation to have the necessary qualities to succeed them as repositories of knowledge of high value.
The narrative resources that inform what counts as knowledge, culture and selfidentity are constructions that represent and reproduce a particular world view (Swartz, 1996). According to Walker (1989; p.36), Maori cultural identity is defined within a tripartite sequence of myth, tradition and history, where gods, ancestors and living people are linked through genealogical descent. Durie (1998) conceives Maori cultural identity as "... an amalgam of personal attitudes, cultural knowledge, and participation in Maori society" (pp. 57-58) that hopefully leads to what Te Hoe Nuku Roa (1996) describes as a `secure identity'. Key determinants of a secure cultural identity seem to be access to cultural institutions and resources, in particular the retention, transmission and development of language and a range of traditional knowledge bases. The development of Maori ownership and control over such cultural taonga (traditional treasures) as language and traditional knowledge bases is important because "... in shaping a vision for the future the configuration of the past often provides a framework for reconfiguring the future" (Jahnke, 1996; p. 13).
Implications for practice: Legitimating diverse cultural realities
As I have argued, constructs such as 'knowledge', 'relationships', `well-being', `identity and self-worth' and `attitudes and values' are all inter-connected understandings of a lived Maori world. They are embedded in the discourses of that world, so that their enactment in daily life becomes a `way of being' rather than a `way of knowing'. A socially critical interrogation of cultural identity within the context of education for Maori recognises the many and intricate differences between the discourses of a lived Maori world and those of the dominant Pakeha group. A postmodern view holds that the contemporary social world is constituted by meanings, signs or imagery (Webster, 1998), but of a new sort that have evolved outside of traditional grand narratives and universal theories and represent only other meanings, signs or imagery. In such a view the meanings, signs and imagery of a Maori world should be regarded as equally valid and legitimate to those of the dominant culture. In New Zealand education notions such as equity seem to be expressed frequently in the rhetoric of curriculum documents, though unfortunately are seen less in the practices of teachers (Salter, 2000b). I am convinced that, in education, we need to address Maori culture as lived experience with its own varied narrative resources and cultural scripts, rather that as an ideological construct. Perhaps During's (1989) proposition offers a way of framing such an approach:
... the construction of a (postmodern) cultural identity is the result of interaction between coloniser and colonised and celebrates the productive energy of (certain) mutual misrecognitions and forgettings. New Zealand identity can be constructed not simply from a Maori or a Pakeha viewpoint but by Maori-ising Pakeha formations and vice versa ... it counters the Europeanisation of the Maori by constructing a non-essentialist unity across a maintained difference.
During, 1989; p.764.
Counting culture in the curriculum
I suggest that the New Zealand HPE curriculum, though intended to be (and acclaimed as) culturally responsive, nevertheless still fails to adequately address Maori needs and aspirations. The implications of this are important for teachers of Maori students in physical education. The `lived experiences' of a Maori world are likely to give rise to cultural scripts and narrative resources that inform particular constructions of self-identity, and validate particular forms of cultural values and beliefs. Maori students generally experience greater difficulty at school, and often feel alienated in mainstream education (MacFarlane, 2000; Penitito, 1996). In part this difficulty arises from distinctions between significations and meanings of cultural values and beliefs, including `Maori knowledge' in relation to `Pakeha education' (Salter, 2000b). In other words, the differences represent the different values of the two worlds, and clearly offer differentially available narrative resources for identity formation for Maori and Pakeha students in mainstream education.
As well as impacting on feelings of identity and self-worth, the cultural differences in understandings of Maori and Pakeha views of schooling are also likely to contribute to the generation of differential achievements in mainstream education. Such differences may well be exacerbated by the fact that Pakeha continue to control the contexts within which such differences are generated and enacted, so that as Johnson and Pihama (1995) argue:
What has come to count as "difference" are those differences which distinguish Maori from Pakeha; ie., the physical characteristics, as well as the language and culture ... though such differences [were historically] framed within an analysis which focused on "racial appearances", [they] are now viewed as common sense. In particular, definitions of Maori by the dominant group serve to reinforce stereotypical negative beliefs about Maori, their beliefs and their language. The inequalities which continue to be a reality for Maori today are still framed within these stereotypes and myths.
Johnson and Pihama, 1995; p. 80.
Framing a culturally responsive pedagogy
The assimilation of Maori into Pakeha cultural norms has been enacted historically through the legitimisation and endorsement of Pakeha culture and language in every facet of New Zealand life. The cultural differences of Maori were ignored and denied on the basis of a belief of inferiority informed by `common-sense', so that as Minow (1985, p. 202) observed, "... to be different was to be deviant". Culturally responsive curriculum and pedagogy for physical education need to legitimate and endorse Maori culture and language. I believe that mainstream education could learn a great deal about culturally responsive curriculum and pedagogy from existing educational initiatives in Maori contexts. Smith (1992, cited in Salter, 2000b), for example, suggests the following principles:
* Tino rangatiratanga (principle of relative autonomy). This principle relates to autonomy and self-determinism in students' decision-making about content, participation and the construction of meaning from learning episodes.
* Taonga tuku iho (principle of cultural aspirations). This principle assumes that to be Maori is to be 'normal' (Bishop and Glynn, 1999a). Maori cultural aspirations are seen as valid and authentic, and the construction and dissemination of Maori cultural knowledge are valued equally to that of the dominant culture, thereby affirming and legitimating the culture of the tangata whenua.
* Ako (principle of reciprocal teaching). The Maori word 'ako' means both teaching and learning, an integrated process that makes extensive (though not exclusive) use of tuakana-teina (older/more experienced-younger/less experienced) relationships, and implies connectedness and reciprocity between teacher and student. Bishop (1996; p.215) suggests knowing in this way characterises connectedness, engagement and participatory consciousness (Heshusius, 1994), all of which are inscribed in the Maori concept of whanaungatanga (kinship relationships) and imply a focus on the group rather than on the self.
* Kia piki ake i nga raruraru o te kainga (principle of mediation). This principle refers to the way students' participation in school connects with parents and families and reflects cultural practices in the wider community. Smith (1992) explains that Maori teaching and learning settings and practices are able to connect closely and effectively with the diverse cultural backgrounds of Maori communities.
* Whanau (principle of relationships, in groups). The word 'whanau' literally means 'family' in is broad (extended) sense, though it is used metaphorically in reference to groups or collectives of people working toward a common goal (after Metge, 1990b). Such groups are described as `whanau of interest' by Bishop (1996), and develop relationships that encompass rights and responsibilities, commitments and obligations, and support for the collective (Bishop and Glynn, 1999b).
* Kaupapa (principle of collective vision, shared philosophy). This principle relates to a Maori agenda in educational processes that articulates and connects with Maori aspirations, politically, socially, economically and spiritually.
These principles for meeting Maori needs in Maori educational contexts are intuitively attractive and culturally relevant. They are also echoed in the work of Bishop and Glynn (1999b), who proposed a similar set of principles of teachinglearning relationships that address successful participation by those already marginalised. I suggest two further principles that might be useful in framing a culturally responsive pedagogy:
* Kawa (principle of 'correct' procedures). This principle relates to the negotiated agreement of adherence to site-specific behaviour in a range of situations. While the kaupapa principle addresses what is to be done, the kawa principle provides guidance as to how the kaupapa is to be followed and enacted.
* Pumanawa tauira (principle of inclusiveness). This principle addresses development of the individual's sense of identity and self-worth, through an understanding that individual and group empowerment relies on providing learnerfriendly/Maori-friendly environments. The pumanawa (unique talents, qualities and abilities) of each individual is acknowledged, and educational processes seek to affirm and develop their uniqueness.
Culture plays an important part in education. Students from a lived Maori world are likely to enter schooling with different views and expectations to students whose lived experiences are predicated upon the dominant discourses of the majority culture. In New Zealand the curriculum, teaching methodologies and teacher education associated with schooling are based on a world-view that does not always recognise or appreciate Maori concepts and values. Mainstream education has traditionally misunderstood, misrepresented or ignored these, though, as I have argued, they inform the cultural scripts and narrative resources essential to the development of identity and self-worth for Maori learners, and the development of attitudes and values regarded as important to Maori. This can disadvantage Maori learners, through failing to affirm their identity within the content and contexts of learning. I suggest that mainstream education has much to learn from Maori educational initiatives, that are founded on principles of confirmation, legitimisation and validation of Maori cultural beliefs, values and resources. The validity of traditional school and subject knowledge needs to be regarded as problematic in relation to students' culturally and socially diverse experiences. The development of personal identity and self-worth, and the fostering of constructive attitudes and values, are important outcomes of physical education. These need to be taught for rather than being left to chance, however. For this to occur, teachers need to seek ways to address the recognition and legitimisation of Maori cultural preferences in their practices, rather than continuing to uncritically perpetuate those of the majority culture. In physical education, this might help address Durie's (1997) concerns, that Maori learners have often unwittingly to decide between cultural identity or school success.
1 Both stories are accurate accounts of events, but individuals' names have been changed to protect identity.
2 Respected female elder, a 'grandmother' figure.
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University of Waikato, New Zealand
George Salter is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Education, at the University of Waikato. He teaches undergraduate and graduate physical education curriculum and pedagogy courses, in both primary and secondary teacher education programmes. His research interests include knowledge construction and its implications for culturally relevant pedagogies in physical education and physical education teacher education.…
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Publication information: Article title: Deciding between Cultural Identity or 'Success' in Physical Education: De-Scribing Attidudes and Values. Contributors: Salter, George - Author. Journal title: Journal of Physical Education New Zealand. Volume: 33. Issue: 3 Publication date: December 2000. Page number: 67+. © Physical Education New Zealand Summer 1998. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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