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Kaupapa Maori Theory And Critical Theory

2061 words - 8 pages

Discuss how Kaupapa Māori Theory and Critical Theory are similar to one another and yet differ from Deficit Theory. Use examples and references to support your claims. Remember your examples should relate to an educational setting.

For many eons the roots of kaupapa Māori theory have grown in Aotearoa by virtue of being the Māori ideology: a philosophical doctrine, incorporating the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values of Māori society; whereas critical theory was developed in the “Frankfurt School “in Europe, in the 1930s. But apart from those thousands of miles and years, they have surprising similarities to each other (Pihama, 2001). Nonetheless: kaupapa Māori theory is defined by Māori for Māori (Pihama, 2001). With a similar process, but not in a Māori context, critical thinking analytically questions what is normally recognised as the unquestionable truth and evaluates it before reconstructing it (Elder, 2007). One vital aspect in the relevance to education of critical theory and kaupapa Māori theory is the importance of teachers creating positive learning environments (Ministry of Education, 2010). Contrasting this, an example as defined in the Te Kotahitanga report, is the deficit theory, where mainstream teachers blame the lack of Māori educational achievement on the students themselves, or their families or cultural background (Ministry of Education, 2010). The consequence of this deficit theorising is probable failure of pupils in the school system. Discussed in this essay will be the deficit theory and why education needs to look towards the more positive models of the kaupapa Māori theory and critical theory with their similarities and successes.
As prevention is better than cure, especially as the cure commonly results in perpetuating the hegemonic practices that produce social conformity by restricting education and knowledge, different ways of looking at how the system would more successfully work are necessary. Specifically, it is an unhappy fact that many pupils fail in the school system, then leave school accepting the "norms" from the system, (Jensen, 1997) and in fact believe they are at fault, not the system. This is happening because basically the state is Pākehā and is working for the interests of Pākehā (Rangimarie, 2008). Tino rangatirotanga, or Māori self-determination, adherents believe the kaupapa Māori theory will help to improve the educational outcomes of Māori by ensuring the classroom learning environment will be culturally appropriate and receptive for children (Bishop, O’Sullivan & Berryman, 2010). For example: “in a kaupapa Māori framework, to be Māori is taken for granted; one’s identity is not being subtly undermined by a ‘hidden curriculum’. Māori language, knowledge, culture and values are validated and legitimated. Māori cultural aspirations, particularly in a wider societal context of the struggle for language and cultural survival, is more assured” (Smith, 2000, p. 185). Subsequently, the...

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