Weaving a tukutuku panel of the Poutama pattern is a powerful metaphor for student engagement and success, which is relevant to students in all programmes, at all levels.
The Poutama tukutuku panel was created by Kohai Grace and her team of Whitireia weaving students - Tui Tepania , Marama Ellis, Lisa Ramanui and Moana Hilliard - and was installed in Te Kete Wānanga on 17 December 2010 in the presence of Taku Parai, Aka Arthur and Whitireia staff and students.
Poutama represents the process of scaffolding knowledge. Learners build on their prior knowledge as they tackle the challenge of each step and consolidate their learning, as they grow in confidence and competence.
Each step-wise journey occurs in parallel with others, just as many learners are on different upward journeys. Each stepwise journey comprises a group of stitches (tuhi) which represent the peers and support throughout the journey.
This panel uses traditional materials – kakaho, pingao, kiekie – and modern technology – machined and painted pine – to create a magnificent work of art. Kakaho is a grassland plant, pingao is a coastal dune plant and kiekie is a forest epiphyte. This represents the diversity within a class. In a classroom we can draw sensitively on traditional and modern knowledge.
When you view a tukutuku panel from the front you can see the golden colour of the vertical stakes (kakaho) at the back of the panel showing through the dark pine strips (kaho). The kakaho represent what a student brings to learning, and the kaho the knowledge that the institution contributes.
The purpose of the two vertical strips (tumatakahuki) woven from golden pingao is to firmly secure the kakaho and the kaho to create a firm lattice on which weaving can proceed. This speaks of the role of the tutor and academic support to create a safe environment in which students can thrive.
The stitches (tuhi) of a tukutuku panel are co-constructed by two weavers, making, adjusting and securing stitches, just as learning is co-constructed between tutor and learner. Although the tutor may have the big picture, the student is responsible for securing their knowledge.
We use this metaphor to motivate and reassure students as they begin their learning journey.
Things To Think About
How can I use the Poutama metaphor to shape the structure of my lesson plans and teaching units?
Can I use the Poutama Tukutuku panel in Poutama Academic Learning Services to help my students think about their own learning?
Will discussing the metaphor with my students help them understand more about how they learn and give them more control over the learning process?