When it comes to teaching, Sheryl Waru knows more than most, and there’s nothing she loves more than passing on her knowledge to others.
And a key point she shares is that the Level 5 Certificate in Adult and Tertiary Teaching programme she runs at the Māngere campus of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa is not just for people considering teaching adults.
“If you’re in a leadership role, if you’re facilitating, if you’re a coordinator, teaching and learning occurs in the same space and holistically the tools you will develop create a purposeful and meaningful platform for whanaungatanga,” she says.
The course uses mātauranga Māori as a foundation for teaching and Sheryl says that means it’s more inclusive than mainstream learning.
“Te Wānanga o Aotearoa encompasses holistic views around teaching and learning and we cater to the needs of our tauira.”
Sheryl has taught in the primary, secondary and adult education sectors and says wherever people are working, the skills required to be a good teacher remain the same.
“A good kaiako is someone who listens, a good kaiako is someone who empowers their learners to be the very best they can be,” she says.
“An exceptional kaiako, however, is someone that continues to upskill themselves to provide updated teaching resources for their learners.”
She says teaching in Māngere means she has students from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds, which adds to the value the course offers.
“The principles and values that we used around teaching aligns with all cultures. The many frameworks used to identify the ‘how’ and ‘why’ we teach through kaupapa Māori and mātauranga Māori is infused through the different cultures with a realisation that our principles and values are very similar. And there’s that genunine feeling of whanaungatanga in our international students. They miss home and being at the wānanga makes them feel just that little bit closer.”
She is also used to catering for students with a wide range of educational experience.
“Many tauira enrol on the Adult Tertiary Teaching qualification already holding various degrees, post grads and PhDs so we have a wealth of knowledge coming onto our program so it’s almost like having a virtual walking library in many cases, so for me it’s about navigating all learners in your ako space.”
Sheryl has been at the forefront of online learning at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa and says it took COVID for her approach to be fully accepted.
“I’ve been teaching online since 2016 and I’m not going to be here forever but I’d like to think the innovative practices I’ve brought about have made a difference. I love it to bits.”