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Pasifika students discuss the importance and relevance that the ASB Polyfest has played in their classroom learning, which in effect improved their academic achievement. Key points in this story also include the senior students mentoring younger students - tuakana/teina model, the opportunity to celebrate their culture by engaging with their traditional performing arts and being able to connect their cultural identifiers to Pasifika giftedness.
I think there’s a great correlation between Polyfest and academic success because during Polyfest everyone’s extremely busy and the schedule is just full-on. So I guess in a way you organization and your time management skills are tested and in some ways it can be positive and negative. But on a personal level I think it really benefitted me being part of Polyfest because I found that we had practices everyday after school, every lunch time, every weekend, every Saturday, so a lot of my time was occupied and I had to try and find time to fit in my schoolwork. And so I guess I became a more efficient learner outside of school, and my time management skills improved and I knew how to prioritize things and fit in time for schoolwork.
It was really time consuming, but I the end it really did pay off because not only did I learn more about my culture but I was also able to acquire the skills to learn new things in a short time span.
I believe Polyfest is a very good avenue for one’s success, academic success at school. In terms of the discipline you learn, to memorise the songs.
My memory has definitely improved over the years especially since I’ve been able to integrate my Polyfest skills into my schoolwork. I’ve been able to memorise a lot more things clearly and in a lot more detail because I’ve been able to pay attention that bit more.
The Polyfest environment you’re really pushed to try and succeed as a group, and this is carried on into our school work. So having practices every day. We’ve kinda, we’ve kept that mentality of being motivated every day and during class time we become more attentive, and effective listeners and learners.
Whether you’re a leader or you’re one of the group you learn a lot of the discipline and I believe that can be implemented into your schoolwork.
I believe that Polyfest really helped me because as a Tongan group member I was able learn skills that I wouldn’t have normally learned if I didn’t. And at the same time I was able to learn more about my culture and I wasn’t able to do that when I was a little girl. So it really did help me.
I’ve actually made quite a few friends in the Polyfest group. because we were together every day, six days a week, we would always get together outside of Polyfest to actually have study groups and the Samoan group, actually some of the girls, on Saturdays when we’d have an hour break we’d actually have our schoolwork out. So it is really good that Polyfest I guess, bring friendships together, that we could help each other in our schoolwork.
The relationships between the juniors and the seniors, I think in Polyfest especially, you they create a space that everyone feels welcome in. it’s not ah you’re older than me, so I shouldn’t be able to talk to you. They create a space that felt like home, especially, in such a big school where Polynesians are a minority. They made me feel at home, they made me feel like I belong somewhere especially since I was new. And I think that girls, if other girls, reached out and asked to be a part of Polyfest, then I would I think they’d find those relationships as well. They’d find it easier to be themselves and find friends.
We had quite a few juniors and they’d I guess it was good being part of Polyfest because they found it easy access to the senior students where they’d ask for help and it was a more comfortable environment being similar nationalities, or ah, the same nationalities and just being comfortable and confident to ask questions. Yea so I was able to help a few juniors during my time at Polyfest.
I believe that we should also see Polyfest as way a learning tool a way to handle learning. So a lot of kids at school they excel at Polyfest or at sports, but when they come into the classroom they’re a completely different person. So I believe Polyfest should be a way a learning tool to handle other students.