Te Atakura Coaches provide the space to share information, facilitate meetings and support teachers to continually adapt and improve their practice
As part of an initiative to reduce disparity between Maori and non-Maori student completion across the system, Cognition joined with The Universal College of Learning (UCOL) to develop a coaching programme that leads to an improved educational experience and outcomes for all students.
Culture Counts Plus, known as Te Atakura at UCOL, focuses on listening to the students and minoritised learners and activating solutions through an iterative cycle of inquiry:
Gathering and analysing data (voices and achievement data)
Planning for further strengthening relationships, system and teacher interactions
Implementing and observing the changes and the impact of the changes
Assessing the progress and the short, medium and longer term outcomes
Initially Te Atakura coaches provide tools to build the capability of the teachers but with each cycle the dependency on the coaches reduces. What remains is a sustainable, institutionalised model of improvement for indigenous and minority students.
Currently 19 coaches and 61 teachers are working in Te Atakura and UCOL continues to see positive impacts at all levels of their organisation:
There is growing awareness of the Te Atakura across UCOL
By the end of 2017 the whole of the institution will be involved in Te Atakura.
The leadership team are focused on structural and system changes to support Te Atakura, emphasizing completion rates and retention of their Maori students across programmes and faculties.
A two hour professional learning block weekly shows the leadership’s dedication to overcoming future barriers.
Teachers are actively experimenting with new techniques to optimise student engagement, this is encouraged by refreshed, collaborative working environments.
Te Atakura coach-teacher interactions are identified as the crucial factor to improving the quality of teaching.
Having a focus on Maori learners and bringing cultural identity into the programme is proving to have a positive impact on of students’ sense of belonging and ownership of their learning.
This positive impact extended to the interactions between students and teachers.