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Language enhancing the achievement of Pasifika

The LEAP resource aims to bring together all the factors that can support bilingual Pasifika students’ learning, especially those that relate to students’ Pasifika languages and English. It suggests ways in which teachers can explore, in practical ways, language teaching and learning principles that can help them work more effectively with bilingual Pasifika students.

Guiding principles of LEAP

  • The languages that bilingual students bring with them are a key linguistic resource and a crucial foundation for their learning.
  • Bilingual students learn better when they are able to use their first or home language at school.
  • Teachers are more effective when they understand how bilingual students learn and when they know and implement the principles of effective language teaching and learning.
  • To succeed at school, students must know and understand academic language. While this is true for all students, it has specific implications for bilingual students and their teachers.
  • Teachers can make academic language accessible to their students through deliberate, explicit instruction.
  • Students learn English as an additional language at school better and faster when they are taught in effective and focused ways and not just left to "pick the language up".
  • Teachers can help their students learn English as an additional language through deliberate, explicit instruction.

The aims of the LEAP resource

The LEAP resource aims to bring together all the factors that research has shown can support bilingual Pasifika students’ learning, especially those that relate to students’ Pasifika languages and English. The resource:

  • suggests ways in which teachers can explore, in practical ways, language teaching and learning principles that can help them work more effectively with bilingual Pasifika students
  • suggests ways in which teachers can address the particular learning needs of their bilingual Pasifika students
  • suggests ways in which teachers can enhance the academic achievement of bilingual Pasifika students in mainstream New Zealand classrooms.

By using the LEAP resource, teachers can:

  • develop deeper knowledge of the cultural and linguistic backgrounds of the bilingual Pasifika students in their classroom
  • find ways to recognise and draw on Pasifika languages in the classroom
  • incorporate proven approaches and activities for second-language teaching into their classroom programmes
  • plan and implement classroom programmes that meet the needs of a range of bilingual Pasifika students.

LEAP and the PEP

The Pasifika Education Plan 2013–2017 (PEP) is aimed at raising Pasifika learners’ participation, engagement, and achievement from early learning through to tertiary education. A key goal for Government is to create the conditions for strong, vibrant, and successful Pasifika communities – communities that can help build a more productive and competitive economy for all New Zealanders. The PEP’s vision is to see "Five out of five Pasifika learners participating, engaging and achieving in education, secure in their identities, languages, and cultures and contributing fully to Aotearoa New Zealand’s social, cultural and economic wellbeing". The LEAP resource draws strongly on the aspirations of the PEP, promoting the speaking of Pasifika languages in all school settings.

How to use this resource

The resource is presented in five main sections:

Within each of the five sections, there is information, examples, and suggested learning material. Throughout the resource are areas that encourage you to explore your own practice with the bilingual Pasifika students in your classroom and school.

The LEAP resource complements such key Ministry of Education teacher resources as  Quality Teaching for Diverse Students in Schooling: Best Evidence Synthesis; the  English Language Learning Framework; Working with English Language Learners: A Handbook for Schools; Effective Literacy Practice in Years 1 to 4; Effective Literacy Practice in Years 5 to 8; and Effective Literacy Strategies in Years 9 to 13: A Guide for Teachers. These documents include key guidance for teachers on the pedagogy of effective language teaching. LEAP is also supplemented by an extensive literature review done in 2005 by Franken, May, and McComish:


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