Ramarie Raureti - Tertiary Teaching Excellence Teaching Profile
Teaching profile from Ramarie Raureti (Lecturer, School of Education, Te Wänanga o Aotearoa) - a Excellence in Innovation Award winner 2003
Lecturer, School of Education, Te Wänanga o Aotearoa
Ramarie Raureti lectures the Bachelor of Teaching programme with the goal to have students determine their own learning experiences and identify current preferred learning styles, to exceed course learning outcomes. In order to build her students' technology resources and demonstrate how their unique cultural experiences, knowledge and heritage can be drawn on to achieve learning outcomes, Ramarie developed the ‘Kumara and Riwai' unit. This innovative approach values an aspect of heritage, te reo Mäori, and tikanga Mäori to fulfil course learning outcomes as well as achievement objectives from the modern curriculum. Ramarie is committed to developing confident and competent primary school teachers through her philosophy ‘Whängaia te hunga matekai - Feed those who are hungry'.
Tënä köutou e ngä rangatira,
Tënä köutou i runga i ngä ähuatanga o tewä. Tënä hoki köutou e mahi kaha ana mö te painga o te tangata mä tënei täonga e kiia nei, te mätauranga.
I te taha o töku Päpä, ko Te Arawa te iwi, ko Ngäti Rangitihi, Tuhourangi, Ngäti Whakaue me Ngäti Pikiao ngä hapü. Ko Neil Raureti töna ingoa.
I te taha o töku Mämä, ko Te Whakatöhea te iwi, ko Ngäti Rua te hapü. Ko Martha Mareroa töna ingoa.
Tekau ä räua tamariki. Ko au te pötiki. Ko Ramarie Raureti taku ingoa. Tënä anö köutou katoa.
Greetings to you my superiors,
Greetings during this time. Greetings to you who are working for the betterment of people through this treasure called education.
On my father's side our tribe is Te Arawa, sub tribes Ngäti Rangitihi, Tuhourangi, Ngäti Whakaue and Ngäti Pikiao. My father's name is Neil Raureti.
On my mother's side our tribe is Te Whakatöhea, sub tribe Ngäti Rua. My mother's name is Martha Mareroa.
Of my parents' ten children, I am the youngest. My name is Ramarie Raureti. Greetings once again to you all.
Whāngaia te hunga matekai - feed those who are hungry
The statement above likens "te hunga matekai" (those who are hungry) to our students hungry and yearning for education. If someone is hungry the natural response is to feed him or her. Likewise, if someone desires education, I have a responsibility to satisfy that desire. As a lecturer for the Bachelor of Teaching programme at Te Wänanga o Aotearoa (Rotorua) I am committed to developing confident, competent, fantastic primary school teachers.
Students have the power to determine their own learning experiences
When students are given the course outline I explain that it should be considered a ‘course guideline', because although there is a certain amount of content that we must address, additions are expected. If students have or develop a special interest in a certain aspect then we will spend more time learning about that particular aspect, thereby meeting students' interests and needs. They have ‘real' input in designing their course and deciding what knowledge is deemed ‘valuable' and ‘worthy'. As a teacher I can be certain that I am meeting the needs of my students. I am satisfying their hunger.
Students are helped to identify their current preferred learning styles
During the early stages of our students' first year we look closely at factors that can help and hinder their motivation to learn. We consider whether students like tackling new areas with the assistance of others or if they prefer to be left to ‘nut it out' alone for some time; ways in which they would like to process new knowledge - whether through discussion, lectures, reading or activities; work environment and their most productive times of day are contemplated; we also consider music that is conducive to learning such as the ability of Bach's symphonies to promote clear thinking and active memory.
"Teachers must interact genuinely with their students"
Once learning preferences are identified I can facilitate learning experiences that accommodate them. However, I also have a responsibility to expose them regularly to a range of styles so that skills may develop to help them become more holistic learners. Furthermore, in time they may easily adapt teaching to their own students. For example, one day I'll inform students that the notes I'm about to write on the whiteboard will be done in pictorial form. Their responses help me identify students for whom this is a preferred learning style. I have noticed that some students smile instantly with an expression that seems to say, "At last". On one occasion a student moved her position from near the back of the room to the front row and gave me ideas throughout the session for effective pictorial note taking.
Make learning exciting and meaningful while exceeding course learning outcomes
Course outcomes are exceeded because students understand that in order for them to spend more time studying their additions to the course, a certain amount of discipline is required for us to adequately address the predetermined course learning outcomes. In my experience students come to understand this as a ‘give and take' situation whereby they realise they will need to ‘give' extra effort during some parts of the course in order to ‘take' maximum benefits.
Potentially dull aspects of the course are made exciting by appealing to their preferred learning styles. For example, on one occasion when simple revision of Mäori development theories was required, students formed groups and each was given a card with the theorist and main concepts of their theory written on it. They were given 15 minutes to convey the information on their cards to their classmates through non-verbal communication (excluding writing and drawing). What followed was an afternoon of brilliant performances that allowed peers to reflect on information studied previously.
Acknowledge students' individual differences
Students I teach come from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds; their ages vary as do their gender and ethnicity. It is understandable therefore that they have a huge variety of life experiences. While it is fine and politically correct to say that I welcome diversity, ‘managing' this diversity in the classroom requires concentrated effort. We realise that in order for class discussions to be effective, open-mindedness, tact and tolerance is required from all parties. These are virtues that have to be carefully nurtured from the outset. When my third year students were in their first year of study not all students were prepared to share their perspective, nor were all opinions respected. Over the years I have stressed that everyone is entitled to an opinion and the freedom to express that opinion without reprisal. I went the extra mile to acknowledge input from usually ‘quiet' students. Now, all my third year students contribute freely to class discussions; they accept that others have opinions that may differ from their own; and they not only tolerate each other's perspective, but also welcome it as a way of learning more about the issue. I consider this to be one of the greatest thrills I have gained from my teaching career.
Learning from teaching
Mä te whakaako, ka ako: By teaching we will also learn
When I approach my class to begin a session I leave myself open to new experiences. While I already have a lesson plan, including answers to predetermined questions, I cannot predict ideas that students may have, questions they may ask, or the life experiences they may add to my understanding of the topic.
Engage with students
Any teacher can ‘engage' with students. However, in order to engage meaningfully, the teacher must have a genuine involvement with each student. Teacher's time, attention and thought must be given to each student. While I do not accomplish this daily I reflect on my engagement with students at the end of each session and note the names of students I did not spend time with. This serves as a reminder for me to focus special attention on them during the next session. Engaging with each student during class is an effective assessment method, as students will often ask for clarification of a certain point or run something by me just to make sure they're on the right track. More importantly, however, it provides me with an opportunity to get to know my students as individuals and show them that each of them is a valued member of our class. A word of warning, however - this cannot be faked. Teachers must interact genuinely with their students, as students have an uncanny ability to smell falseness.
I acknowledge that some students require extra assistance and I am always willing to offer and provide it. A couple of students and me working in the classroom at 7:30 on a Thursday or Friday morning is not an unusual sight since some students prefer an early morning tutorial session. This may be their most productive time of day; it may fit in with their commitments at home; or perhaps they would rather be helped when other some students need extra tuition and I have a responsibility to provide it. When the individual needs of students are tended to their overall understanding of course content is raised as well as their levels of motivation. Students are very grateful when they see we go the extra mile for them.
Provide honest, useful feedback
Formal feedback to students is given at the completion of an assessment or assignment. Each student can be sure that I will consider their assignment will thoroughly and I will give them honest, useful, confidential feedback. While this practice is very time consuming, students know precisely areas that they have mastered and aspects that require further work. I provide informal feedback during class sessions as I rove to see how they are coping with the work.
When students address all aspects of an assignment well I stick a big, bright, shiny sticker to their marking sheet. It may seem childish but the delight on their faces when they see the stickers is priceless. Once last year I was returning students' assignments and marking sheets when one student said, "I achieved all aspects but I haven't got a sticker." Immediately I apologised for the oversight and produced a golden smiley sun sticker. The student was then satisfied.
Ko täu rourou, ko täku rourou, ka ora te manuhiri : With your food basket and my food basket, the guests will be fed
Applying the above statement to an educational context could mean that by offering my knowledge and expertise, and taking on board the advice and expertise of others, our students will be fed with a buffet of satisfying, delightful dishes.
Peer and student comments
As students on the Bachelor of Teaching programme we have had nine lecturers in our three years, and Ramarie stands out above all others as the teacher from whom we learn the most, the teacher who expects the best and the teacher to whom we give our best. Ramarie has always respected others' points of view and encourages her students to resolve inconsistencies in arguments in a systematic way. This is one way in which Ramarie develops confidence in her students; we are respected, our opinions are respected and we are not afraid to share our opinions while considering other points of view.
Dianne Collier, Year 3 Bachelor of Teaching student
Ramarie is a highly respected colleague with a passion and commitment to Mäori education and all this encompasses.
Erita Kingi, Supervising Lecturer and colleague
Ramarie delivers her lessons in such a way that it becomes so easy to learn and retain information. No one likes to miss any of her classes and I haven't missed one yet! Ramarie expects nothing but the best from all her students, and has very high standards but in the same instance, she also expects this from herself.
Tina Rewi-McRoy, Year 3 Bachelor of Teaching student
Ramarie teaches with enthusiasm and the class responds well to her. She has the ability to make her students feel comfortable and their opinions valued. Ramarie is honest in discussing matters that are of a sensitive nature or which require diplomacy. She has shown the ability to develop rapport with all her students regardless of age, colour or gender. This is evident in the classroom environment and the attendance of students.
Joanne Winiata, Year 3 Bachelor of Teaching student