Obtaining Greatest Value from Bicultural Training Modules

Friday, March 25, 2016

Ngā mihi o te wā Ngāhuru nei!

Welcome to Ngāhuru, the season of autumn. Ngāhuru is an ancient word for ten, and Autumn begins in the tenth month of the Māori calendar year, March or Poutū-te-rangi[1].

We’ve been very busy over the past year working with organisations that see the value in making the Te Rito modules available to their staff. In that time, we’ve seen some great examples of how to get the most from e-learning resources.

We’ve also been reminded of something: the more clearly an organisation values bicultural skills in its staff and makes such training a priority, the more successful their investment is. This is measured in terms of uptake rates of training, thus lifting overall baseline competency.

We respect that some organisations choose to make the training available for self-motivated individuals who may request it, but the truth is that no matter how desirable the modules are, few people are going to carve out precious work time to do training if it’s an optional extra – a luxury, not a necessity.

Some people fear a backlash from taking a prescriptive approach to bicultural training. They prefer to be more gently encouraging, using the carrot approach versus the stick: “Hey, look at these great modules, they’re here on our LMS if you’re interested!”

From what we’ve seen, this is not effective. In our experience, here’s what does work:

  1. Launching the modules with an energetic, eye-catching communications campaign that puts benefits and rationale front and centre, and contains a good dose of senior management endorsement.
  2. Explaining in this campaign that because having biculturally competent staff is important to the organisation, completion of the modules will now be a compulsory part of all induction programmes and promotion processes, as well as leadership programmes / customer services programmes / core skills programmes / whatever makes sense for your organisation.
  3. Including the modules in said programmes.
  4. Requiring completion of exit surveys to gauge learner satisfaction.
  5. Reporting to the organisation on staff completion rates (trackable via the LMS or otherwise through exit surveys). Featuring brief personal endorsements of the experience and its relevance – especially from senior management – is an important part of this internal ‘marketing’ loop.

And now, some breaking Kia Māia news . . . over the years, since we developed the original Te Rito, we’ve received many enquiries from the education sector about the availability of Te Rito to upskill teachers. In response to this, we are currently developing a new version of the modules, called ‘Te Rito - Educators' Edition’. These modules are designed to help New Zealand educators deepen their understanding of Te Ao Māori in ways that increase their overall bicultural competency and confidence, as well as enhance their teaching practice.

We’re excited to be able to extend the knowledge found in Te Rito to the teaching profession. Watch this space for more information!

And finally, we wish to acknowledge the recent passing of an extraordinary leader, a highly respected scholar and deeply passionate educator, Professor Sir Ranginui Walker. E te manutaki kua wheturangitia, Tā Ranginui, moe mai, okioki mai...

[1] Sourced from www.toitangata.co.nz


Kia Māia Bicultural Communications, Copyright 2016