Our next stop was with the Maori of New Zealand. Again we read a factual text about the people which we found online, and then we turned to the novel and the film Whale Rider. We have, in other words, watched two long film about indigenous people in this part of the world. Is that too much? Has my focus been wrong? Should more time have been spent on other indigenous people, on other parts of the curriculum? I am not sure. What I know is that very few of my students would have seen these film on their own, and I believe it is one of my tasks as a teacher to present to the students other films than just Hollywood-movies.
One final point about how I have worked with this topic: our curriculum says that the students should "discuss social conditions and values in various cultures in a number of English-speaking countries." I found some facts about the social conditions of the Maori on Wikipedia which I presented to my students, and I also gave them some questions to discuss. I split the class into groups of five, and asked all of the groups to discuss these questions for 15 minutes. The students did great! Many of them were also quite active in the class discussion afterwards, and some of those who had never said a word before suddenly presented good arguments and were very talkative.
Almost five weeks' work on the Maori and the Aborigines will end this week with the students writing papers on the topic. I will come back to the essay topics and some comments on how the students did later.