What can we learn from alternative education in creating connectedness with Indigenous priority learners?
Keywords:Indigenous education, alternative education, culturally responsive, teaching practice, connectedness, professional development, relational practice
In New Zealand, limited research has been conducted in alternative-education learning environments and yet some of our most vulnerable students are referred to them by their secondary schools. Since 2000, alternative education has been available for students identified as being behaviourally challenging or are habitual truants. This paper reports on a study that examined the perspectives of Māori adolescents, their experiences of secondary schooling, and the affect that these experiences had on their self-efficacy. Importantly, it undertook a culturally responsive methodology. The study gained insights into the reasons behind the disproportionately high number of Māori students being referred to alternative education, and the key elements influencing the loss of connection with their schooling experience. In considering implications for teacher practice, the study identified ways in which teachers can create “connectedness” and therefore improve self-efficacy for these students.
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