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Te Atakura makes waves at national conference

By UCOL on Friday, 14 December 2018

A photograph of UCOL Lecturers Johannie Spies and Farzanah Desai

UCOL lecturers have impressed educators from across the country with the UCOL’s relationship-based teaching approach, Te Atakura.

UCOL Exercise and Wellness Lecturers Farzanah Desai and Dr Johannie Spies gave presentations on Te Atakura at the recent New Zealand Association for Research in Education (NZARE) conference in Auckland

The conference theme was 'Shaping our futures: Celebrating transformative educational research, policy, and pedagogies that foster the wellbeing of people and planet’.

Te Atakura is a culturally responsive model that uses relationship-based teaching and learning to lift the educational success of Māori students. While Te Atakura was introduced to address the disparity between Māori and non-Māori student achievement, it has proven to be a success with students from a variety of backgrounds. 

Farzanah Desai, who is also a Te Atakura Coach, presented an overview of Te Atakura and how it has been implemented across UCOL. She also presented data showing how lecturers’ teaching practices have changed over the time they have been implementing Te Atakura.

Farzanah says people were impressed with how the Te Atakura team includes coaches who are currently lecturers, so that the team is in tune with the constant changes in classrooms. 

Dr Johannie Spies spoke about the strategies she has employed to improve Māori student engagement and achievement in her Anatomy and Physiology classes. 

For Johannie, using Te Atakura teaching strategies and creating a range of interactive activities in the classroom has helped increase parity between Māori and non-Māori student achievement from a 9% gap to a 4.4% gap in the past year.

“I think people really enjoyed the presentation because they knew that the strategies might work and they’re trying to implement them in their classes. After I’ve shown them how I’ve implemented them, they could see the positive impact.”

Te Atakura Kaiārahi Erin Lincoln commended Farzanah and Johannie for showcasing the positive impact Te Atakura is having at UCOL.