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Ed Sheeran

Collective spirit drives Maori students

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A major study of New Zealand schoolchildren has found Maori, Pasifika and Asian students are likely to attribute their success to having a supportive family, while Pakeha students think they do it on their own.

The study of cultural variance in goal setting by Professor Christine Rubie-Davies and Dr Kane Meissel of the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Education and Social Work has been published in the British Journal of Educational Psychology.

The pair analysed a survey of more than 2200 students in three intermediate schools.

They found all students endorsed the goal of education being mastery or developing skills and increasing learning rather than outperforming their peers.

They also found Pakeha students were less likely to believe they could succeed in mathematics than the other three groups, and lower than western groups in other countries.

Professor Rubie-Davies says motivation has been closely associated with achievement, so the study indicates the need for teachers to adapt their teaching methods to best motivate specific student cultural groups.

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