Saturday, March 6, 2010

Spreading Students Culture Worldwide

After a year where I consider I spent a considerable amount of time online 'treading water' I was really determined in 2010 to get a spark going with my classroom site and engage the students as much as possible. One of the aspects that I have been a big believer in the past in doing so is by harnessing the power of the students culture. Generally speaking students are aware of their culture and take pride in it from an early age. This was the case over the past few weeks with my classroom we're we've had as part of our curriculum and introduction to the year the learning of Maori Mihi for the students. A Mihi is a greeting or an introduction that is spoken by an individual as way of introduction when they meet in formal and informal settings.

The student who produced this video is Maori and has a strong sense of pride in being Maori. I told her when it was produced that she would have students and people from all around the world view her work and learn from her, for her this was hugely empowering and really engaged her in the learning process. It went up on Thursday our time, she was a little unsure but we received some feedback that was positive quickly to ensure it was a successful teaching moment. However to tell her that students would learn from all around the world proved to be literally correct when these students from Lyudmila Class in Kransnoyarskiykray Kray, Russia took the lesson and produced their own Maori Mihi video based on our students work.

A hugely empowering moment for all concerned. I always rate students individual experiences and cultures as such an important part of learning, and something that there is a eager and huge audience for around the world. My hope is that you will think about this as an avenue for posting. I am hoping this is going to be the catalyst for a huge amount of work this year, and a experience that everyone involved will treasure.


Wm Chamberlain said...

One thing that I am curious about is the speed at which the Mihi is given. I have a few students that are Micronesian and they speak Chuukese. They tend to speak very fast, do you find the same to be true in New Zealand of the Maori?

I find it fascinating that a school in Russia chose to do a Mihi. Living in a country that tends to be very inwardly focused tends to make it difficult for me to see events like this coming. I am definitely blessed to be part of this group that is constantly helping me learn to be more global.

NZWaikato said...

Generally speaking the speed isn't that fast. I thought it was a great learning experience for all concerned as the student, whose had some issues in the past has really taken ownership of this video and the success with it, it also proves that she can have a voice around the world, that something that we do matters, from the classroom of Hamilton and influences the classrooms in Siberia!

John Hadley Strange said...

I think this is wonderful and amazing. Now help me figure out how I can get my college students learning to be learners and learning assistants (trying to break away from the term teacher) involved in participating in this adventure.

Your help will be greatly appreciated!