ERRR #013. Russell Bishop and the Centrality of Relationships

Listen to all past episodes of the ERRR podcast here.

This episode we’re talking to Professor Russell Bishop. Russell is based in New Zealand and has a long history of teaching and working with the first people of New Zealand, the Maori people.

Russell is currently foundation Professor for Māori Education in the School of Education at the University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. He is also a qualified and experienced secondary school teacher. Prior to his present appointment he was a senior lecturer in Māori Education in the Education Department at the University of Otago and Interim Director for Otago University’s Teacher Education programme. His research experience in the area of collaborative storying as Kaupapa Māori, has given rise to national and international publishing. Some of his books include, “Collaborative Research Stories: Whakawhanaungatanga”, “Culture Counts: Changing Power Relationships in Classrooms”, “Pathologising Practices“, “Culture Speaks” and in 2010 “Scaling Up Education Reform”. Russell’s has worked with literally thousands of teachers across New Zealand and across the world and, on a more personal note, I’m very grateful for how Russell’s work has helped me to see the students from minority groups at my school, and my relationships with them, in a whole new light.

The first article that Russell nominated for this ERRR is entitled ‘Relationships are Fundamental to Learning’. This very readable editorial discusses the ubiquity of teachers’ (often subconscious) deficit thinking (aka: deficit theorising) regarding students from minority groups, and the impacts of such deficit thinking on relationships with, and the educational outcomes of, these students. For those who would like to take a deeper dive into this topic, Russell also recommended an additional paper entitled ‘The Centrality of Relationships for Pedagogy: The Whanaungatanga Thesis’. This second paper was an eye opening synthesis of qualitative and quantitative research methods that really brought to life some of Russell’s theories in more of a quantitative manner.

Links mentioned during the interview