Our vision is to empower the profession to have safe and productive conversations about racism, that result in greater understanding and changes in behaviour and practice.
There is growing acknowledgement of racial bias in our education system, especially in relation to Māori learner success.
As the professional body for teachers, the Teaching Council is well positioned to begin a conversation around racism with teachers across Aotearoa New Zealand.
The Council has partnered with the Human Rights Commission (HRC) to develop an education response under the same banner as the HRC’s Give Nothing to Racism campaign.
Chief executive Lesley Hoskin explains the motivation behind Unteach Racism and answers the question: what is Unteach Racism?
What is Unteach Racism?
Unteach Racism is the core concept for our initiative. Unteach Racism recognises that racism is something that is learned and therefore can be unlearned. It acknowledges the unique expertise teachers have in being able to address this challenge and inspire others to do the same. Unteach Racism will empower teachers to lift the limits that society has placed on children and young people.
Unteach Racism will:
- recognise that racism is a societal issue, not solely an education issue
- acknowledge that racism affects many groups of people, and has signiﬁcant relevance and impact on Māori, as tangata whenua
- be informed by best practice – be strengths- based, future- focused and optimistic
- be aligned to the expected behaviours and practices set out in Our Code, Our Standards| Ngā Tikanga Matatika, Ngā Paerewa
- provide teachers with meaningful ways to demonstrate the values of the teaching profession
- approach uncomfortable conversations around racism through the lens of a growth mindset, creating ways for teachers to acknowledge and begin to address racism within their setting
- increase the visibility of, and inherent importance of, cultural competency as a vital part of the teacher skill set in Aotearoa
- align with the vision of the Leadership Strategy for the Teaching Profession for building principled and inspirational leadership; a culturally capable, competent and connected teaching profession to achieve educational equity and excellence for all children and young people
The project reflects a commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. This requires the injustices caused by colonisation to be addressed and all New Zealanders to engage in creating a positive future that honour Te Tiriti.
While many of our diverse learners experience racism, the outcomes for tamariki and rangatahi along with our commitment to Te Tiriti means Unteach Racism has significant relevance in affirming Māori learners as tangata whenua.
The Council also recognises that we can contribute to tackling this complex problem but we will not be solving it. Racism and its effects are far bigger than this one initiative. We are not the experts but have engaged with experts to ensure that the project is informed by best practice.
The Council is working with and has been supported by the following organisations:
- Human Rights Commission
- Teachers and professional leaders
- Office of the Children’s Commissioner
- Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet – Child Youth Wellbeing Strategy
- Ministry of Education
- Ministry of Education Te Hurihanganui
- Ministry of Justice
- Te Papa – The Museum of New Zealand
The Council has a range of resources available on the Unteach Racism website.