What do Māori educators want Pākehā outreach teachers to know when working with tamariki Māori on the autism spectrum with high, complex needs?
Keywords:Māori education, autism, specialist teaching, ongoing resourcing scheme
This research paper asks what Māori educators want Pākehā outreach teachers to know when working with tamariki Māori on the autism spectrum with high, complex needs. A review of the literature noted a shortage of specialists who can speak te reo Māori and practice in a culturally responsive way. Three Māori educators participated in semi-structured interviews as part of this qualitative research, addressing what Pākehā outreach teachers need to know to be culturally responsive to Māori. The following themes emerged: Māori environments are relationally inclusive and involve whānau; outreach teachers should respect te reo and tikanga; and outreach teachers should practice with humility as part of a team. These themes emerge within the context of a chronic shortage of Māori specialists. Most of the specialists working with tamariki Māori are non-Māori. In order to meet their needs Pākehā outreach teachers need to be able to work with tamariki Māori and their whānau in a culturally responsive way. Understanding cultural hegemony and its impact on education is an area in need of further discussion if outreach teachers are to understand the concept of humility and its importance for Māori.
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