Jen Smith (Ngāti Whātua, Ngāpuhi) is a lecturer in Māori education at UC and Co-Lead of culturally responsive education in Te Kāhui Pā Harakeke: The Child Wellbeing Research Institute. Jen is a former primary school teacher and has a hearing difference.
She is an advocate for ōritetanga (equity) in every sphere of education. She believes that enabling teachers with skills and resources that address inequities to enhance student engagement and achievement. Her main research interests are in the field of Māori education include a socio-cultural approach to education, inclusive cultural pedagogy and culturally responsive and competent approaches to teaching and learning for diverse learners, and cultural well-being.
Her doctoral studies are framed around her own experiences as a primary school teacher: around making schools culturally safe spaces for Māori teachers. This study centres on schools as champions for their Māori workforce. She hopes this study will mitigate the effects of cultural taxation and professional isolation for her peers, and increase the numbers of Māori teachers that are in English medium spaces as role models for Māori tamariki.
She is the Year 2 Coordinator of the Bachelor of Teaching and Learning. She teaches Te Reo Māori, Professional Inquiry studies and Professional practice in the ITE programmes. Jen is the Course Coordinator and Lecturer for EDEM685: Motivating Culturally Diverse Learners in the Master’s programme.