I’ve had a few thoughts about focusing my concentration more since my last post. I have plans to try to get back to New Zealand this summer to do more research, so I’ve been thinking of ways to expand my experiences from the fall, and perhaps move forward with research for my thesis. The only problem: to do research for my thesis, I need to figure out my thesis. Here are my thoughts so far.
Māori pedagogies/Māori medium schools
During my research on New Zealand Enviroschools last fall, something that really stood out to me was the push for New Zealand to become a bicultural nation that incorporates the indigenous Māori culture in schools, organizations, as well as day to day life. I’ve been interested in the inclusion of indigenous ways of knowing into mainstream classrooms since my first concentration draft, but was initially steered away from it since indigeneity can be a very complex topic to navigate.
I was wondering whether I wanted to continue with a situated context in New Zealand or perform a comparative study somewhere else that has a prominent indigenous presence. I was having some second thoughts about studying Māori culture due to some readings I’ve been doing in my science education class — studies have shown that having a teacher or mentor of similar cultural background is most beneficial to students, so I was feeling a bit out of place as a complete outsider coming to learn about this culture. What place did I have in doing this kind of study? In fact, I’m most interested in multicultural education, and New Zealand is a great context to learn about a less complex way to incorporate another culture into schooling. It’s a great case study since Māori culture is relatively uniform throughout the country, at least in terms of language and general tribal culture. It’s also already being implemented in schools, so there are a variety of different school contexts I could observe. With New Zealand as almost a “control” of sorts, I could potentially expand my experiences to apply to multicultural education in the United States, a much messier task since there are so many different cultures represented in the U.S., and Native American language and culture is not uniform across the country.