Ako – A focus on learning

Graduating Teacher Standard 4c:

demonstrate high expectations of all learners, focus on learning and recognise and value diversity.

Ako is the inseparable relationship between teaching and learning (Berryman and Bishop, 2010). Ako “recognises the knowledge that both teachers and learners bring to learning interactions, and it acknowledges the way that new knowledge and understandings can grow out of shared learning experiences” (Te Kete Ipurangi). As a teacher it is important for me to recognise that just as I can teach students, students can also teach me. If I put in the hard work to organise and plan effective lessons and activities, then I will reap what I sow.

The principal of Ako allows the lines between teacher and learner to be blurred, and this enables building of stronger relationships (Whanaungatanga). A focus on Ako is a focus on learning. My current practicum school calls the ‘Head of Department’ the ‘Leader of Learning area’, or Lola! Maybe I need to rethink the title I give myself in the classroom. Yes, the world calls me a teacher, but maybe I should be called a learning leader. Why? Because I can and have learnt so much from students.

 The Maori Education Strategy outlines that Ako incorporates “Productive Partnerships, in which the sharing of knowledge between “Māori students, whänau, hapü, iwi and educators” is central (2009. Page 20). If this sharing occurs, then the learning outcomes and results will be better. I believe it is important to let students know that just as I can teach them, they also can teach me. A way I can do this is to be open to dialogue, to encourage discussions and to affirm students when they speak or write of information that I previously had no knowledge of. Again, this comes back to the importance of relationships that I see as vital to teaching and learning.


Berryman, Mere and Bishop, Russell. (2010). The Te Kotahitanga effective teaching profile. Set reprints: New Zealand Council for Educational Research. Pages 5-11.

Ministry of Education. Group Maori. (2009). Ka hikitia: managing for success : the Māori education strategy 2008-2012. Wellington, New Zealand: Ministry of Education.

This is an excerpt from my 612b Te Puna assignment

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