Implementing the Values through Culturally Responsive Pedagogy in Physical Education

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Chapter Two Akarakara Akaouanga Ite Kite Pakari Ote Kuki Airani: Pedagogy in the Cook Islands


There are multiple ways of understanding the process of schooling, teaching and learning, and culturally responsive pedagogy. In this chapter, I begin with an examination of the history of schooling in the Cook Islands. This provides the background and context for the current research. I then draw on the concept of pedagogy to frame an analysis of the interdependence of culture, teaching and learning when based on community values. I then explore the concept of pedagogy with a particular focus on David Lusted and Richard Tinning’s work, followed by a definition of the concept of ‘values’ in relation to pedagogy. I draw on studies from Pasifika theorists to understand Pasifika dimensions of culturally responsive pedagogy. Using the model of the tivaevae, I locate culturally responsive pedagogy within the Cook Islands curriculum. Finally, I review the health and physical education curriculum and culturally responsive pedagogy.

History of Schooling in the Cook Islands

The study highlights some of the historical events of formal schooling in the Cook Islands which occurred following the arrival of the missionaries in the 1820s. As a result of the missionary invasion, the Cook Islands lifestyle began to change and furthermore the devaluation of cultural values began. It was the aim of this research to explore cultural values and how these could significantly engage students in their learning, create opportunities for students to develop good relationships with their peers, and improve leadership skills through culturally responsive pedagogy.
During the early 1800’s two members of the London Missionary Society (LMS), John Williams and an indigenous Tahitian named Papehia came to teach the Cook Islanders. The LMS service led to the opening of a school of reading and writing so that Cook Islanders could learn literacy skills which would facilitate their relationships with the missionaries. The missionaries learned, and taught in the Cook Islands Maori language so that they could communicate well with the people (McFadzien, 1993; Vai’imene, 2003). Crocombe (2001) indicated that the core purpose of the missionary work was conversion to Christianity and this required that the Cook Islanders adopt what were considered to be the ‘more civilised’ European beliefs and practices.
In the 1840s the LMS established a teachers’ training institution in Avarua in Rarotonga (Coxon, 1991). The purpose was for Cook Islanders and missionaries to work together in establishing relationships so that Cook Islanders could be trained to become teachers. By the 1860s, education and literacy skills were widespread at the primary schooling level (Coxon, 1993; McFardizen, 1993). Nabobo-Baba (1996) reported the intention of the missionary invasion in the South Pacific was to replace traditional cultural institutions with those of the European and thus absorb indigenous people into European ways of living. This intention was based on the belief that peoples of the world could be categorised as ‘superior’ or ‘inferior’ and positioned on a hierarchy of ‘races’. Categorisation was first based on physical characteristics which later became linked to behavioural, emotional and intellectual predispositions (Waitere-Ang & Adams, 2005, p.102). In contexts such as the 19th century South Pacific, the perceived inferiority in the development of indigenous peoples in areas such as political organisation, morality and knowledge could justify missionary intervention as a duty to pass on a ‘superior’ civilisation and way of being.
Attempts to reshape Cook Islands cultural values, attitudes and perceptions, and to invalidate their view of the world sought to interrupt the flow of taonga from one generation to the next (Crocombe, 2001). A particular practice that has had long and far-reaching consequences was redefining the meaning of children’s play activities. According to McGregor and McMath (1993), play for Cook Islanders “often meant the acquisition of skills that could mean the difference between life and death of not only the individual, but more importantly, the community” (p. 46). This meant that “play, while being fun was serious stuff” (McGregor & McMath, 1993, p. 46). In mission schools, the role of games in embedding traditional practices in this way was redefined (Pere, 1991), because play activities simply became a respite from the classroom. For Armstrong (1986), this amounted to marginalising cultural practices that supported children and chiefs in developing their leadership and social skills. In fact, through such practices, mission schooling “undermined the important role of children’s games as preparation for adult life” (McGregor & McMath, 1993, p. 46). Thus, play was one of the mechanisms through which cultural values and practices for children began to be discouraged by the missionaries. There were other implications of this, though, because of the ways in which physical prowess was often linked to the physical and spiritual exploits of parents and hero ancestors. Parents were taught to feel shame for their former ways and beliefs which were represented as providing wicked examples to their children. Many missionaries believed that saving a soul was worth any price because it ensured eternal life. The enormous price people paid, however, was the loss of self-confidence, individual worth, and self-respect (Buck, 1927).
As attaining literacy and vocational training were important mechanisms of a wider Christianising (and civilising) purpose of schooling (Coxon, 1991), the Bible became the text for literacy education in the missionary schools. According to Mara, Foliaki, and Coxon (1994) this marked the beginning of a general devaluation of cultural values in the Pacific nations, particularly the Cook Islanders’ own pedagogy and knowledge. Because of this practice, indigenous poetry, chants, composers, legends and choreography were all marginalised (Vai’imene, 2003). In addition, Cook Islanders viewed missionary settlements as a means of attaining certain skills (such as literacy) necessary to deal with the papaa world. In this sense, Cook Islanders’ resistance (or ‘apathy’ as it was and is commonly described) began to make them think differently about missionary activity. Because missionaries taught a constrictive (that is, biblical) form of literacy, it was considered that this would hinder their negotiation capabilities with settlers and the emerging government (Crocombe, 2001). At this point in time, Cook Islands cultural values and traditional knowledge were not considered to be central to people’s identity and were discouraged in the schools.
The missionaries considered that English was an important language to learn. By learning English this would help Cook Islanders develop their literacy skills in order to contribute to economic production and trade (Crocombe & Crocombe, 2003; Gilson, 1980; Vai’imene, 2003). As economic development and international trade increased there was greater focus on the use of European tools and equipment for vocational practices of carpentry and construction, but teaching of cultural values and practices was discouraged (Mara et al, 1994).
The Cook Islands was declared a British Protectorate in 1888 (Coxon, 1991; Crocombe, 2001; MaFadzien, 1993; Vai’inene, 2003), but missionaries continued to take an active role in most Cook Islands affairs. During this period the British resident, F. J. Moss, began his attempts to promote self-government and democracy in the Cook Islands with the objective of educating the people to the level where they could retain control of their changing environment (Coxon, 1991; MaFadzien, 1993; Ross, 1969; Scott, 1991). Moss encouraged the building of state schools, assisted by the churches, and made efforts to employ Cook Islanders in government positions (Scott, 1991). In 1895 the Public Schools Act provided free, secular schooling in English for children. In that same year the London Missionary Society opened Tereora College, a boarding school in which only successful children throughout the Cook Islands were enrolled (Coxon, 1991). The curriculum was based on the teaching of English. It was subsidised by the New Zealand parliament to help meet the costs and fees for students from outer islands of the Cook Islands (Scott, 1991), and it was also supported by parental contributions.
English was the dominant language spoken in the schools. Recent writers argue that the rationale for learning English was that Cook Islanders would learn to practise democracy and self-government. More importantly, Cook Islanders would become acquainted with English so that they could apply it in their homes (Gilson, 1980). English was seen as an entry point to a ‘higher’ culture and would provide an opportunity for the people to enter the world market (Gilson, 1980; Scott, 1991; Vai’imene, 2003). While many people were interested in learning English they also intended to carry on practising many of their customs which were meaningful to them.
In 1901 the Cook Islands were annexed by the colonial government of New Zealand. The aim was to provide a provisional education for Cook Islanders (Scott, 1991). The Resident Commissioner, Colonel Edward Gudgeon, was against an Europeanising agenda and higher education. In 1903 he tried to enforce a short period of education for all Cook Islands children to prepare them to perform a productive role in the environment in which they lived (Coxon, 1991; Gilson, 1980; MaFadzien, 1993). Gudgeon proposed that Cook Islanders should continue observing and listening to the ariki (chief or king) (Scott, 1991), and argued that New Zealand should not be involved in their education; rather it should be left to the London Missionary Society (Vai’imene, 2003). Gudgeon believed that education should be confined mainly to Bible study and hymn singing. However, the missionaries were unable to provide for such large numbers of children and requested that New Zealand take on responsibility for education (Ross, 1969). Because of Gudgeon’s belief that only minimal education was needed, he made minimal resources available and opposed suggestions by the New Zealand government that education in the Cook Islands should be modelled on the New Zealand Native School system. He felt that Europeanisation of the people – including having English as the language of instruction – was costly and unsuitable for many Cook Islanders, especially those in the more remote islands (Ross, 1969). He worried also that if those in the remote coral islands were educated they would become dissatisfied with their lives and would go off in search of something better. Knowledge of English would only make this more possible, and there were really no such opportunities.
The people of the coral islands if educated will leave their houses in search of something better, and knowledge of English will enable them to do this. Of what possible use can education be to such communities in the Cook Islands? In such communities education can only create a desire for things unattainable. (AJHR, 1906, A-3, p. 102)
In 1914 with the outbreak of World War I, the movement towards education that was proposed for Cook Islanders was a slow and gradual process. The colonial government only built on what the missionaries had established (Mara et al., 1994). However, although some parliamentarians felt New Zealand had an obligation to “raise the standard of civilisation” of the Cook Islanders who were now New Zealand citizens (NZPD, 1902, p. 456), it was not until 1916 that the New Zealand government first took direct responsibility for education. New Zealand, had by this time, had administrative responsibility for the Cook Islands for more than 10 years and was being criticised by many of the European residents for doing nothing for the children’s education. In addition when government officials visited the Cook Islands, they also saw that missionaries were struggling to provide an adequate service, and felt their intervention was necessary. The Minister for the Cook Islands was the Māori politician, Maui Pomare, and he recommended that William Bird, the Senior Inspector of New Zealand’s Native Schools, should visit the Islands to give advice on a way forward. Both officials agreed that Cook Islands education should be developed in a similar way to New Zealand’s schooling for Māori. This included an emphasis on health, hygiene and sanitation (Cook Islands Act, 1915).
The system put in place was to be a state secular system, gradually placed under papaa head teachers, paid by the New Zealand government. As with New Zealand Native Schools, school buildings were to be maintained by the Cook Island Maori. However there were fifteen different dialects in the Cook Islands group. Instruction was to be in both the local language and in English. For most, schooling was limited in terms of subjects such as reading, writing, arithmetic, crafts, and elementary agriculture, and in terms of the years of schooling. A few reached secondary level, although by 1919 a small number of scholarships to New Zealand Maori boarding schools were made available. The New Zealand administrators, as well as the Cook Islands communities, saw education as providing opportunities to move beyond traditional roles – mainly to prepare men for clerical positions in the government service. Bi-lingual islanders were required to act as translators and intermediaries in official matters and the people saw that education would provide material privilege. Until 1922, however, there was little formal organisation to education in the Cook Islands. This was addressed in 1922 with a new syllabus being developed (New Zealand Gazette, 1922).
By the 1920s, a growing number of New Zealand teachers were working in the Pacific using New Zealand’s curriculum. Teaching materials, teaching methods and assessment procedures were used and English was the language of instruction (Ma’ia’i, 1957). Ma’ia’i (1957) indicates that there was a problem with education at that time because Cook Islanders believed “that the purpose of education was to fit people for their environment not to unfit them for the same” (p. 57). Parliament ministers of New Zealand observed that education for Cook Islanders should be in English but what parliament ministers did not understand was Cook Islanders at that time were unfamiliar with the new language (Mara et al, 1994). As a result of the way education was delivered in the Cook Islands, health and physical education curriculum was not given any consideration. The main concern was to provide educational experiences seen as enabling the development of Cook Islanders as a colonial nation (Cooper, 1973; Crocombe, 2001; Ma’ia’i, 1957). This would not cater for the needs of Cook Islanders but realistically would achieve the needs of the west.
From the years 1909 to 1934 the office of the Minister for the Cook Islands was held by three Maori – James Carroll, Maui Pomare and Apirana Ngata. This had significant influence on the timing and nature of government involvement. These men were members of the Young Maori Party of the early 20th century who were concerned that high infant mortality, poor living, health, and sanitary conditions in Maori settlements was a result of the breakdown of traditional Maori society and culture and inadequate preparation for the European onslaught (Walker, 2002). It was this factor that underpinned the taihoa (take things slowly) policy of Sir Apirana Ngata, possibly the most influential of the New Zealand Maori leaders. He felt that Māori in New Zealand had been pushed too fast into modernisation and advocated the taihoa policy. This was transferred to his response to education in the Cook Islands. The cultural knowledge that was included was limited to primary schools and based on what papaa deemed appropriate and worthy of conservation (Ka’ai-Oldman, 1980).
Frederick Platts, another British resident from New Zealand who succeeded Gudgeon, viewed education as a high priority in the Cook Islands. At this time questions were raised about what sort of education would be appropriate for the people. The key debate was whether it should be a universal, broad education (as advocated by Moss) or one with a localised limited scope (as during Gudgeon’s era) (Coxon, 1991; Gilson, 1980; Vai’imene, 2003). Platts’ view was that education in the Cook Islands should be such that it would open doors to the international market and trade (Coxon, 1991). However, cultural knowledge still did not figure largely. The officially stated view was that the local child “finds a familiar atmosphere [of] Cook Island songs, crafts, art, story, and dance” in the Native School (Department of Education, 1941, p. 190), but Cook Islands language and other values of tu akangateitei (respect) were absent. This signalled the state system’s initial use of cultural objects such as instruments of adornment to create an atmosphere of artificial culture, while cultural knowledge of any substance was deemed inappropriate.
In 1945, a major shift occurred as a consequence of the United Nations Declarations of Decolonisation after World War II (Coxon, 1991; Vai’imene, 2003). This declaration pressured New Zealand into preparing the Cook Islands for self-government and independence (Cooper, 1973). Following independence in 1965 educational practices in the Cook Islands underwent many changes. The first change was under the leadership of former Premier Albert Henry of the Cook Islands Party government who believed that the emphasis of education should be on the cultural practices of language and culture such as arts, carving, weaving, song, dance and the dramatisation of myths and legends (Vai’imene, 2003). The integration of cultural practices in sports and games was extremely popular with students and teachers in the schools. This became the highlight of the school festivals and cultural days. Physical education that included cultural activities such as ura Kuki Airani (dance), ta rore (fighting walking stilt), patarave (playing marbles), and pei teka (dart games) became the highlight of the schools’ events.

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CHAPTER ONE Akatomoanga: Introduction
1.1 Introduction
1.2 Teaching and Learning in Cook Islands
1.3 Pedagogy
1.4 Problems, Questions and Hypotheses
1.5 Significance of the Research
1.6 Theoretical Framework
1.7 Research Methodology
1.8 Overview of the Thesis
CHAPTER TWO Akarakara Akaouanga Ite kite Pakari Ote Kuki Airani: Pedagogy in the Cook Islands
2.1 Introduction
2.2 History of Schooling in the Cook Islands
2.3 The Concept of Pedagogy
2.4 Values in Relation to Pedagogy
2.5 Culturally Responsive Pedagogy
2.6 Tivaevae as a Model for Conceptualising Culturally Responsive Pedagogy
2.7 A Tivaevae Approach to Cook Islands Curriculum of Health and Physical Education
2.8 Conclusion
CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY  Kaveinga No Te Raveanga: Methodology
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Valuing Indigenous Research
3.3 Pasifika Research
3.4 Tivavae as an Indigenous Research Methodology
3.5 Ethical Considerations
3.6 Brief Overview of the Three Studies
3.7 Conclusion
CHAPTER FOUR: STUDY ONE Atoro Te Peu ‘Ā To ‘Ui Tūpuna: Exploring Cook Island Cultural Values
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Method
4.3 Data Analysis
4.4 Results
4.5 Discussion
4.6 Conclusion to Study One
CHAPTER FIVE: STUDY TWO Akaoraoraia Te Peu ‘Ā To ‘Ui Tūpuna: Implementing the Values through Culturally Responsive Pedagogy in Physical Education
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Method
5.3 Data Collection
5.4 Data Analysis
5.5 Results
5.6 Results Cycle Two
5.7 Discussion
5.8 Conclusion to Study Two
CHAPTER SIX: STUDY THREE Kia Marama Te Au Tauira Ite ‘Āite’anga Ote Au Peu ‘Ui Tūpuna: Students’ Perceptions of Cultural Activities in Physical Education
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Participants
6.3 Materials
6.4 Statistical Analysis
6.5 Qualitative Analysis
6.6 Results and Discussion
6.7 Discussion
6.8 Results for qualitative analysis
6.9 Summary of Qualitative results
6.10 Conclusion to Study Three
CHAPTER SEVEN: DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION Pūpūanga Ote Au Tumumanako Meitaki Kia Akaoraoraia: Defining Culturally Responsive Pedagogy in Physical Education
7.1 Introduction
7.2 Key Findings
7.3 Six Key Implications for Improving Culturally Responsive Pedagogy in Physical Education for Cook Island Secondary Schools
7.4 A Culturally Responsive Model for Cook Island Secondary Schools
7.5 Conclusion

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