Transforming a place to where learning is 'cool'
The report from our Central Hub’s latest project Project Based Learning Focused on Numeracy and Literacy Skills with Māori Second Chance Learners describes two integrated project based learning experiences aimed at engaging Māori second chance learners.
Written by Anwyl Minnaar and Peter Howarth-Jarratt from Gisborne's Matapuna Training Centre, the report describes two student-led projects - The Waka Project and The River Project - established to improve literacy and numeracy amongst the Centre's learners.
The projects used naturally occurring assessment evidence - resulting from well-structured, real-life, collaborative exercises – instead of tick-box workbooks - with a strong numeracy and literacy focus.
Anwyl and Peter have outlined the five-stage project design process they developed, the teaching sequence and the resources used. Their report provides learner profiles and an analysis of the students’ literacy and numeracy gains, as well as their unit standard achievements.
This will be of particular interest to organisations working with Māori youth with high numeracy and literacy needs, and the teaching and learning resources enable these projects to be replicated or adapted for any organisation.
Nineteen learners, all who identified themselves as Māori, took part in both these projects. The majority were aged 18 years or younger, and three learners already held an NCEA Level One qualification prior to the project starting.
The Waka Project
For this project, students explored Iwi approaches to waka designs, history and uses. They researched the subject and planned how to build to scale their own waka; which required numeracy skills such as measurement, conversion and estimation.
By working in groups to plan the activity, they also developed communication and interpersonal skills.
The Stream Project
This project focused on the ecology of rivers. After learning background information, students collected data during a field trip to their local stream and worked on this back in the classroom, again utilising numeracy and literacy skills.
Findings indicate that the projects exceeded expectations at the Centre. There was an average gain in numeracy of 37.5 with 32% making significant gains, and an average gain in literacy of 17.8 with 11% making significant gains.
Six principal factors that support learner success were identified across both projects:
- making the learning relevant to the learner
- focusing on learner goals when designing the project content
- including activities and group work to engage all learners
- celebrating learner success
- including Māori perspectives and tikanga, e.g. the role of the atua in ecology
- including Māori pedagogy such as tuākana-tēina and ako.
Staff deemed the projects to be so successful that they will be replicated next year. Equally significant was the positive feedback from the learners saying they enjoyed their project work and learning new skills. This is summed up in the conclusion of the report.
“The atmosphere in the Matapuna Training Centre was transformed to a place where learning is ‘cool’ and being successful at learning is something that can be shared and celebrated.”