The research on the power of collaborative cultures to get results has been accumulating over 40 years. It points to the power of social capital – the agency and impact of strong and effective groups – to improve student learning.28
In the context of the Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako initiative, the primary purpose of collaboration is to improve student outcomes. To achieve equitable outcomes for those who have been under-served by the system, particularly Māori and Pacific students, this means an unyielding focus on accelerating achievement. To support this endeavour, we now have a wealth of evidence about how to most effectively promote equity and excellence for diverse learners.
The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa set the direction for learning in our schools. These two curriculum frameworks are supported by national achievement standards and by other key policy documents such as Ka Hikitia, the Pasifika Education Plan and Success for All – Every School, Every Child. Collectively, these documents describe the outcomes we want for all learners.
The New Zealand Curriculum encapsulates these outcomes in its vision of young people who are ‘confident, connected, actively involved, lifelong learners’. The success of the Communities of Learning | Kähui Ako initiative will be apparent in the extent to which every young person who is part of a community is:
> confident in their identity, language and culture as a citizen of Aotearoa New Zealand29
> socially and emotionally competent, resilient and optimistic about the future30
> a successful lifelong learner
> participating and contributing confidently in a range of contexts (cultural, local, national and global) to shape a sustainable world of the future.31
31 Bolstad, R., & Gilbert, J., with McDowall, S., Bull, A., Boyd, S., & Hipkins, R. (2012). Supporting future-oriented teaching and learning – a New Zealand perspective. Wellington: Ministry of Education. Retrieved from www.educationcounts.govt.nz