"Māhunga Ake - Heads Up": Teaching the subject of 'emotions' to adult learners

Kiri Solomon - IIRC20
Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Our proposed presentation will focus on the learnings to date from the ‘Māhunga Ake – Heads Up’ research project. This research is being done as part of a PHD supervised by Dr. Veronica O’Toole and Dr. Matiu Ratima (University of Canterbury). Our research entails working together as a research whānau (family) to develop an appropriate Māori centred Aotearoa New Zealand contextualised Emotional Literacy (EL) programme, targeted at ‘second chance’ Adult Learners in a Māori community organisation. EL has been shown to increase a person’s social skills, employment outcomes and overall well-being so is an important subject for Adult learners to be exposed to and learn about.

The Second Chance Adult Learners in the research are defined as early school leavers, those who have not been to school and those who have not been well served in mainstream schooling environments.

The research framework draws on aspects of Kaupapa Māori research, the Māori values from the organisation in which the research is based and Meads (2016) concept of tika (correctness). Freire’s (1974) concepts of problem posing, cultural transformation and dialogical theory - educating through talking with students, not at them, have also been considered within the research process.

The research is located within the ‘Whānau Ara Mua – Families Moving Forward Together’ (WAM) course within Solomon Group (SG), an Auckland based Māori Community Organisation, and includes both WAM Tutors and WAM Students. The research uses Participatory Action Research (PAR) methodology and Russell Bishop’s (1995) research method of whakawhanaungatanga (building and maintaining familial type relationships and connections) where everyone works together as a research whānau (family) to address previous student feedback about a lack of ‘Emotion’ related information in the WAM course.

A Mātauranga Māori (traditional Māori knowledge) theory, ‘Te Maramataka’ (the Maori Lunar calendar) and embedded concepts have been included in the EL Programme content as both emotion identification and regulation strategies which showcases how traditional Māori knowledge can be applied across diverse contemporary contexts.

The presentation will specifically cover themes elicited from three coding processes relating to effective EL teaching practices and adult learners, and the affective experiences of the participants (ie how they felt about the EL programme). A provisional framework for teaching EL to adults using Te Maramataka concepts will also be presented.