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