The danger of a single story – Chimamanda Adichie

I loved this TED talk and it summed up for me something I see in our teacher education with regards to Maori language and tikanga – the providers seem to have just one story of what it is to be Maori and assess accordingly!


About backyardbooks

This blog is a kind of electronic storage locker for ideas and quotes that inform my research... literary research into fiction for young adults (with a special focus on New Zealand fiction). Kiwis are producing amazing literature for younger readers, but it isn't getting the academic appreciation it deserves. I hope readers of this blog can make use of the material I gather and share by way of promoting our fiction. Cheers!
This entry was posted in Maori learners and education, Metaphors and Narratives around children and learners, Mono- Bi- and Multi-culturalism, Pakeha learners and education, Understanding Education. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The danger of a single story – Chimamanda Adichie

  1. hukacanhaka says:

    You seem to emphasise a “single story” analysis of Maori teacher education in this post. I agree, that within many teacher education structures, Maori tikanga and identity is conveyed in single story terms, but Maori teacher education is much broader than what you imply here. Surely ‘education’ is more diverse than what is delivered within state structures; surely ‘educators’ must include anyone who teaches others? Perhaps you should specify the extent of your experience with Maori teacher education, and communicate that the lens a lot of “teacher education with regards to Maori language and tikanga”, is conveyed through colonial governance structures. It is important to identify the power implicit that shapes what many teachers learn. It would be more concise to discuss teacher education in New Zealand, about identity in general, as a dangerous single story.

    • can of worms right?! yeah you’re right about educators being anyone who teaches others – I couldn’t agree more with that. What I have been wondering about is how teacher education – by which I mean, to qualify for registration – creates a story of Maori and Maori education. We had one student teacher who passed the ‘te reo maori me ona tikanga’ component of her practical placement just for counting to ten in maori – and she missed ono… If teachers were recognised as making efforts at learning, that would be different from being assessed as actually meeting a component like this. Could we learn better on local marae, I wonder – rather than in the teacher education program and assessed alongside all other requirements to meet the graduating teacher standards? Still wondering really – no answers, just disagreement with the status quo! What do you think?
      I did just come across this article… haven’t read it yet, but the conclusion caught my eye.

      • hukacanhaka says:

        Kia ora, I love the research you do.

        Yup, when I went to TCol in Auckland in the mid 90s (oh no, showing my age), I was disappointed by the Maori content. I was in a the Maori class, and the only difference between our program and the rest of the teachers training in our year, was that we did the Maori learning component in the first year rather than in our second year. I was shocked at the time. Over the past couple of years I worked as a raranga tutor at Waiariki Institute of Technology, where I also studied beforehand. It was really cool to be in an arts environment and see Maori pedagogy happen as part of a transcultural arts process. I mean, we learnt and taught art, but the Maori knowledge that was always present in the broader social context, always helped everything make sense. I am biased, but I think creative knowledge approaches to learning can help us teach and interpret tikanga in terms that make sense. Thanks heaps for your thoughtfulness and go hard in your research haerenga. I really enjoyed that article you suggested and found a place for it in some recent research.

        Nga mihi nui ki a koe,
        na Tawhanga.

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