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Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Creating Mirrors for our Tamariki

I recently read this blog post by New Zealand writer, rapper, artist and all round awesome person Jessica Hansell a.k.a Coco Solid and was inspired to write about the implications the ideas she presents have in the classroom.  In particular, the classroom of a Decile 1A school in East Auckland.

As teachers, we help young people to form their perspectives and their opinions about the world they live in.  We can affirm identities and empower the voiceless, or, we can support and embed further, the belief that who they are; their culture, language, family etc, are inferior.

As teachers, we can choose what material we use, topics we discuss and view points we choose to include and value.  We help to shape the mirror that our students look into.  What will they see back?  If the only messages they are seeing in mainstream media is communicating that who they are is not acceptable to the 'rest' of us - the 'normal' ones.

As part of the Maniakalani Cluster, our students have blogs.  It is a humble yet powerful way to get their 'voices' hear out in the world.  It is so important to promote this - that yes!  You can shape the world you live in!  You can change the world!  It's true!  It's possible!  Jessica Hansell changed the world of many voiceless women who were over 72kg, voiceless females who were dreaming of becoming a rapper, voiceless immigrants from Asia who enjoy visiting the beautiful beaches of New Zealand...

Our students have the opportunity every day to contribute to a world, with the chance that they may empower others through the work they share.

We as teachers can help them to do this.  We can help change the world for someone else too!

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