Russell Bishop

The Tai Tokerau Council was fortunate to host Emeritus Professor Russell Bishop,PhD, ONZM in Northland where he delivered workshops both in Kerikeri and Whangarei.

The events were well-supported and addressed some current issues and concerns ineducation regarding the achievement of Māori and other marginalised students.


Leaders’ Event

The focus was on how leaders lead to the North East to create the infrastructure, resourcing and conditions for teachers to teach to the “North East” to address the Literacy Crisis. 

Equity and excellence is achieved through collaboration – building a common code of pedagogy, consistency of practice and cohesion of teaching and programmes across an entire school with all stake-holders receiving the same messages about high expectations. 

Failure is not an option! Deliberate acts of teaching and high levels of relationships are key to successful learning.


Teachers’ Event

Russell showed a powerpoint presentation that outlined aspects of the Literacy “crisis” and gave a summary of three different schools that had worked with him to improve their overall results, especially relating to Māori students. Based upon his “Relationships First” model, he outlined how deliberate acts of teaching and inclusion of discursive practices are  pivotal factors in raising achievement of learners. 


Leaders of Learning create a family-like context for learning by:

  • Rejecting deficit explanations for learners’ learning
  • Caring for and nurturing the learner, including their language and culture
  • Voicing and demonstrating high expectations
  • Ensuring that all learners can learn in a well-managed environment so as to promote learning
  • Knowing what learners need to learn


Leaders of learning interact within this family-like context in ways that promote learning by:

  • Drawing on learner’s prior learning and knowledge
  • Using formative assessment to provide effective feedback
  • Using formative assessment to provide effective feedforward
  • Using co-constructive processes to involve learners in their learning and to help formulate success criteria for tasks together
  • Using power-sharing strategies such as co-operative learning and narrative pedagogy.


A representative from Cognition, Rebecca Thomas facilitated some exercises with the group to give some examples and to demonstrate some aspects of  narrative pedagogy.