Date
24 July 2024

Deepen relationships with students and whānau

In the ngahere or forest, our knowledge of each and every plant allows us to act as guardians, providing care and protection. Deepening relationships with ākonga and their whānau builds understanding and trust, and helps teachers to respond to ākonga needs.

Strengthen relationships

Strengthen relationships

Respectful caring relationships are at the heart of the McAuley High School learning community. Maintaining these relationships involves every member of staff.

Connect with culturally sustaining frameworks

Connect with culturally sustaining frameworks

Learn from ākonga and whānau using culturally sustaining frameworks. Build a holistic learner profile to understand how to support ākonga wellbeing and learning.

For example, use dimensions from the Māori health model, Te Whare Tapa Whā 


Taha Whānau - family, people and relationships

  • whānau, friends, iwi and hapū
  • cultural, religious, social and recreational connections
  • professionals working with the family.

Taha Wairua - spiritual wellbeing or life force

  • spiritually strengthening aspects, for example, faith, being in nature, creative activities and meditation  
  • special interests, hopes and priorities for ākonga and whānau.

Taha Tinana - physical wellbeing

  • physical activity and recreation preferences
  • physical abilities and challenges
  • medications and allergies.

Taha Hinengaro - mental and emotional wellbeing

  • strengths and talents
  • dislikes, what can upset them 
  • signs that the student is beginning to feel upset or anxious
  • strategies used to calm students.

Whenua - connection to the land and environment

  • important places
  • iwi and hapū, maunga and awa - mountains and rivers
  • interests in the environment, plants and animals
  • connections to people and ancestors.

Commit to understanding ākonga

Commit to understanding ākonga

Hamish describes the positive impact of being “known” by his teacher.

He also reflects on the impact of being invisible.

Involve family and whānau

Involve family and whānau

“We talk, we meet, we listen”.

Educators talk about engaging with and welcoming Pacific families and whānau using a Tapasā approach.

Build the learner profile over time

Build the learner profile over time

Learner profiles can help school staff build relationships with ākonga and their whānau, understand their perspectives and design learning to meet student needs.

Considerations for learner profiles.

  • Provide multiple opportunities and methods to develop the profile.
  • Prioritise information from students by using effective communication techniques, for example, point to select, or communication boards.
  • Revisit the profile on a regular basis to add depth and new insights.
  • Use a range of input methods such as conversations, observations, formal reviews and regular surveys.
  • Encourage students to understand their needs and preferences as a learner.
  • Act on information that is shared so students can see how their voice helps you design learning experiences that work for them.

Successful home-school partnerships

Successful home-school partnerships

Build a partnership that has a clear focus on students’ learning, where everyone can make positive and active contributions that benefit learning.

Next steps

More suggestions for implementing the strategy “Foster relationships and partnerships”:

Return to the guide “Behaviour and learning”

Guide to Index of the guide: Behaviour and learning

Strategies for action:

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