Prof. Russell Bishop

Prof. Russell Bishop is Emeritus Professor for Māori Education in the Faculty of Education at the University of Waikato, New Zealand. He started his career as a secondary school teacher in New Zealand, before progressing into education research and its applications at scale. In the 2016 New Year Honours, Dr. Bishop was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Māori and education.

Over the last two decades, his research has focused on enhancing outcomes for Maori and other marginalized learners. One of his core areas of focus has been on supporting teachers to develop culturally responsive, trusting and family-like relationships with all learners. Russell was director of the landmark Te Kotahitanga Research and Professional Development Project, which piloted, evaluated, iterated, and scaled programs to enhance outcomes for indigenous Maori learners in New Zealand. He has also advised on similar large-scale initiatives in Australia and Canada. A second area of focus has been on effective approaches and processes for scaling up education reform. Dr. Bishop’s landmark publications include: Scaling up Education Reform: Addressing the Politics of Disparity; Culture Counts: Changing Power Relationships in Classrooms; and Teaching to the North-East: Relationship-based learning in practice.

Russell Bishop sits on the Cognition Education Group’s Education Advisory Panel, and alongside Cognition Education has developed a PLD programme that enables schools to embed, and embody Relationships-based learning principles for teachers and students. 


Leading to the North-East. How to solve the Literacy Crisis in two years.

When I was invited to present a keynote address to the NZ Literacy Association conference in October this year, I consulted the recent literature on the topic and found the following;

  • 35% of 15 year-olds in NZ are functionally illiterate.
  • Maori are over- represented in this figure.
  • With all the downstream effects this has on life chances and life styles.
  • The best and most comprehensive view of the crisis is across the Life Course of students: ECE; New entrants; Senior primary; Secondary.
  • There are very sound, practical suggestions about how to improve literacy in the literature from both advocates of Balanced and Structured Literacy approaches.
  • However, teaching variability and lack of consistent infrastructural support for teachers limits the success of most interventions.
  • The Government has recently released a new literacy and numeracy strategy.
  • However, it needs an effective model for schools to respond to and sustain the strategy.

My address will look at how school principals can develop a successful institutional infrastructure in their schools in ways that will support teachers to become successful literacy teachers. 

The 2022 Conference starts in: