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Kaupapa Māori principles have the power to transform the educational experience of Māori students in mainstream classrooms. For example, tino rangatiratanga requires both children and parents to be involved in school decision-making. Taonga tuku iho requires schools and teachers to create contexts where to be Māori is to be normal and where Māori cultural identities are valued, valid and legitimate – that is, where Māori children can be themselves. Through ako, reciprocal learning, teachers and students take turns in storying and re-storying their realities.
Te Kotahitanga is a project that seeks to improve the educational achievement of Māori students in mainstream schools. Through interviews with Māori students, their teachers and whānau, the authors learnt about the characteristics of teachers that made a difference. They have drawn these together into the Effective Teaching Profile.