Coloring in the White Spaces: Reclaiming Cultural Identity in Whitestream Schools

Coloring in the White Spaces: Reclaiming Cultural Identity in Whitestream Schools

by Ann Milne


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This book examines the struggle against racial and cultural inequity in educational systems, presenting the case study of a New Zealand school and its community’s determination to resist alienating environments. If we look at an untouched child’s coloring book, for instance, we think of the pages as blank. But they’re not actually blank – each page is uniformly white, with lines established to dictate where color is allowed to go. Children by this are taught about the place of color and the importance of staying within pre-determined boundaries and expectations, reinforcing a system where the white background is considered the norm. To challenge such whitestreaming, this book offers the example of a community that defied and rejected this environment in favor of a culturally-located, bilingual learning model of education based on secure cultural identity, stable positive relationships, and aroha (authentic caring and love). This journey is juxtaposed against pervasive deficit-driven, whitestream explanations of inequity and purported «achievement gaps» of indigenous Māori and Pasifika students. This story chronicles the efforts of the Kia Aroha College community on its quest to step outside education’s «White spaces» to create a new space for learning and to reclaim educational sovereignty – where individuals have the absolute right to «be Māori,» to be who they are, in school.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781433134838
Publisher: Peter Lang Inc., International Academic Publishers
Publication date: 10/20/2016
Series: Counterpoints Series , #513
Pages: 228
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Ann Milne received her PhD from the University of Waikato, New Zealand. She has led the Kia Aroha College community’s 28-year journey to resist and reject alienating school environments through culturally responsive and critical social justice pedagogies. In 2015 she was the recipient of the New Zealand Principals’ Federation’s prestigious Service with Distinction Award; she has also received several national research awards and scholarships.

Table of Contents

List of Figures xi

List of Tables xiii

Papahueke xv

Foreword xvii

Acknowledgements xxi

Part 1 Identifying White Spaces

Chapter 1 The Whitestream 3

Introduction 3

The Girl at the Principal's Door 7

Schooling in New Zealand 8

School Reform in White Spaces 10

Maori Spaces in the Whitestream-"as Maori" 14

Pasifika Spaces in the Whitestream-"as Tongan," "as Samoan" 17

"Academic" Achievement 18

Overview of Book Chapters 19

Notes 22

References 23

Chapter 2 Naming the White Spaces 27

Whiteness 28

Privilege and Supremacy 30

The Curriculum as a White Space: The Politics of Knowledge 31

Note 42

References 42

Chapter 3 Cultural Identity 47

Cultural Identity 48

Essentialist Frameworks 49

Postmodern Frameworks 51

Critical Frameworks in Education 54

Indigenous Perspectives 56

Shape-Shifting: Identity Changing, Identity as Resistance 59

Identity Lost: Social Toxins 61

Schools and Cultural Identity 63

References 64

Part 2 Coloring in the White Spaces

Chapter 4 Kia Aroha College 71

Born Out of Struggle 72

The Schools 72

Winning the War 76

Through Aroha 78

Note 79

References 79

Chapter 5 Changing the Lens 81

Truth-Telling: Auditing Schools' White Spaces 82

Designing a School 83

Changing the Lens 87

The Power Lenses Learning Model 89

References 93

Chapter 6 Coloring in the School-Learning Space 95

The School-Learning Lens 95

The Concept of Whanau 98

A Critical Pedagogy of Whanau: Whanaungatanga in Practice 101

School Spaces as Whanau Spaces 102

Authentic Critical Caring 104

Students1 Experience of Whanaungatanga 106

Student-Driven Learning 108

Notes 124

References 124

Chapter 7 Coloring in the Self-Learning Space 129

The Self-Learning Lens 129

What Is Success? 130

Assessment as a White Space 131

How Do We Know? 133

Cultural Standards 134

Using the Indicators 144

Key Competencies 146

Self-Learning Lens: Progress Over Time 147

Putting Self and School Lenses Together 148

The Purpose of the Self-Lens 152

Learning in the Self-Lens 153

The Place of Kapa Haka/Performing Arts in Self-Lens Learning 153

Determining Success: Whose Knowledge Is of Most Worth? 157

Notes 158

References 159

Chapter 8 Coloring in the Wider Learning Spaces 161

The Global-Learning Lens 161

Solidarity in the White Space 162

Challenged Spaces 167

Youth Spaces 172

Note 174

References 174

Chapter 9 Powerful Spaces 177

Self-Determining Spaces 178

Te Ara Tino Rangatiratanga: The Pathway to Self-De termination 179

Identity Found: Colored Spaces 185

Breaking Free 188

Warrior-Scholars 197

Graduate Profile: Redefining Success and Achievement 198

What Did We Learn? 202

Notes 205

References 205

Glossary 209

About the Author 215

Index 217

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