My personal passion for te reo and tikanga Māori was sparked at university, taking a Māori 101 paper with an inspirational tutor – a Pākehā who was able to engage and support us in our learning i.e. Alice Patrick.
Now, years later, as a teacher, our school has contracted Alice to take school-wide professional development – a couple of sessions a term, for two years. This has been a huge learning curve for some staff, particularly those from overseas, but Alice has maintained momentum and motivated staff (even teachers who were super un-confident). She uses a lot of positive reinforcement and encouragement, which the teachers respond to.
These sessions with Alice have re-ignited my passion for te reo that began under her tutorship at university. Alice's sessions are successful because they are practical i.e. teachers can use them straight away in their classes. In addition, she scaffolds the learning in a way that accommodates all abilities, and extends those with prior knowledge. Although challenging for some teachers, Alice's PD is done in a way that is non-threatening – so no one feels overwhelmed.
Her teaching style is a strength; she's really high-energy and packs a lot in. She knows her stuff. What's more, she is a reflective practitioner – always seeking feedback on her sessions and looking for ways to improve. Her being non-Mãori is not a detracting feature. In fact, it may help teachers relate to her; she is a role model. She shows that you don’t have to be Māori to be successful in teaching Māori.