Diversity and cultural sensitivity module

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Diversity and Cultural Sensitiity

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Consideration of learner diversity and undertaking a culturally sensitive approach to recognition of prior learning is essential. Learning is personal to each individual and when assessing prior learning it is important to respect the knowledge that was gained, how it was attained and the context in which that prior learning occurred for the candidate being assessed.

Nina Benton (1996) sums this up well when she says" To reach those who need it the most, RPL needs to be facilitated by people who are sensitive to cultural differences and understand the social and cultural significance of the knowledge and skills being assessed" p.

Awareness of needs for Maori learners is important in the New Zealand context as the Treaty of Waitangi has implications for a fair education system. Benton outlines that when the assessed learning crosses cultural boundaries it is important that professional expertise is brought in to ensure cultural misappropriation does not occur. The example she highlights is assessing Maori wood carving where a tohunga in woodcarving would be the appropriate consultant for either facilitation or assessment.

Benton also highlights that it is important that the skills being assessed are viewed and assessed in a valid way and not all are assumed to be Maori knowledge. Her example is that if someone is being assessed for the teaching of Maori language, this is not specifically Maori knowledge but should be assessed as a teacher of any other language would.

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Benton (1996) states "A candidate who would feel more comfortable with a facilitator from their own culture should have that preference respected." p 34.

In a multicultural society this is not always possible. How do you think this could be addressed to achieve a more satisfactory outcome for the candidate?

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Using your search skills explore ways in which learner diversity can be acknowledged in assessing prior learning

the following link to a webinar may help to get you started from the perspective of a Maori pedagogy framework for engaging learners

Engaging Maori Learners

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Remember to submit an excerpt from your exploration around this module. Send this directly to Heather.

Critically consider the process of assessing for prior learning from the perspective of a lecturer in an assessor or facilitator role, exploring the following areas:

You are asked to:
Explore how consideration of student diversity and culture can be acknowledged (acknowledging difference) - (due end of 7th module)
Marking criteria:
  • Critical discussion of consideration of student diversity and culture in the RPL process (acknowledging difference)
  • discussion is referenced and supported by literature sources

NB: Critical discussion involves a depth of thought that considers and debates a variety of perspectives including your own. Critical in this sense refers to reviewing, analysing and evaluating in depth; it does not mean focusing on negativity. It is possible to critically discuss and still totally agree with a particular perspective.


Benton, N.(1996).Recognition of prior learning: Rules, roles and models: Providing, advice support and mentoring. Wellington: New Zealand Council for Educational Research.