What can we learn from alternative education in creating connectedness with Indigenous priority learners?


  • Katrina Lemon Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology
  • Nigel Calder University of Waikato




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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Author Biographies

Katrina Lemon, Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology

Katrina Lemon is Katrina is Iwi  (tribal) links to Ngapuhi and Ngai Te Rangi along with European links to Ireland and Scotland. Her research interests are located in the fields of Indigenous education, contentedness, and improving school management and teaching practice(s). She is passionate about her Māori culture and working towards equity in education for Māori and other Indigenous peoples.

Nigel Calder, University of Waikato

Nigel Calder is Associate Professor in Education at University of Waikato with research interests and external projects in mathematics education, motivation and engagement, motivating reluctant teenage learners; digital technologies, using mobile technologies in the learning of mathematics, and inquiry learning in mathematics and science. He is fourth-generation New Zealand pakeha. 


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How to Cite

Lemon, K., & Calder, N. (2022). What can we learn from alternative education in creating connectedness with Indigenous priority learners? . The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 51(1). https://doi.org/10.55146/ajie.2022.29