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Professional Learning and Development at Māngere Bridge School

Collaboration, inquiry learning and knowledge-sharing underpin the professional development and learning focus of the teachers at Māngere Bridge school. The learning and actions that result impact positively on their Pasifika students’ achievement and well-being.


Key content

A strong feature of the professional learning and development at Māngere Bridge School is the take-up of opportunities, with teachers participating in large-scale national projects as well as those within the school. The teachers develop and strengthen their relationships with Pasifika parents by sharing with them the professional knowledge that they themselves are gaining. The teachers’ participation in quality learning circles contributes to their learning about what is effective practice for Pasifika learners.

Teacher-student partnerships are strengthened by regular learning conversations. Through these conversations, they each explore the student’s achievement in sufficient depth for them both to know what they need to do next to be able to progress the learning. The focus is clear and constant. Teachers, parents and students investigate, deliberately and collaboratively, the effectiveness of teaching practices in relation to Pasifika student achievement patterns. These are some of the ways that teachers at Māngere Bridge school engage in professional learning and development to benefit their Pasifika students.

“Collaborative opportunities for professional learning are most likely to deliver benefit for students when they are characterised by:

  • an intensive focus on the relationship between teaching and learning;
  • collective responsibility and accountability for student achievement and well-being.”

School Leadership and Student Outcomes: Identifying What Works and Why: Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration, page 120


Thanks to the principals, staff and students of Aorere College, McAuley High School, Mangere Bridge School, Sylvia Park School, Mary MacKillop School and Wymondley Road Primary School for their contribution.

Things to think about

  • How much time and what resources go into professional development around the achievement needs of Pasifika students in your school? Could these be increased? How?
  • Do you talk to your Pasifika students about your professional learning and development needs? If not, why not? How do you know what will help them to learn better?
  • Would you say that there is a strong sense of collective responsibility and accountability for Pasifika student achievement and well-being in your school? Could it be improved? If so, how?
  • Does the professional development you receive impact directly on the achievement patterns of your Pasifika students? How? If not, why not?
  • What forms of professional learning and development have you found particularly effective in helping you to meet the needs of your Pasifika students in the classroom and raise their achievement levels? Do other teachers agree with you? What works for them, and why?


Liz Crisp - Teacher

The professional development we get in the school, as a teacher is great. At the moment we’re on a contract where we’re aiming to raise the standard of reading for our Pasifika children. We have spent time together as a staff talking about them. Most impacting for me was actually looking at the whole building of relationships and in a busy life of a school and the drive to get reading and writing and maths standards up, I think I was forgetting that it is so important to build relationships with the children initially. So spending time at the start of the year to make connections with children. Making sure my classroom is warm and inviting and a great place for children and parents to be. Trying to learn the names of the parents you know so I can greet them appropriately. All those sorts of things came through our professional development, which we held together. On an ongoing basis we’re part of an Assessment for Learning contract. And I'm an Assessment for Learning lead teacher so I get input regularly on a termly basis on how to work alongside teachers and children, and what is great practice in helping them learn.

Rosina Prasad – Teacher 
We have had Pasifika literacy days, we’re with our cluster schools, and I've always found those really valuable because you get to learn so much from a variety of people. And I think the fact that they’re focussed as well and that everyone kind of shares their ideas, and shares their knowledge or something they’ve learnt has been really beneficial for my own practice. And I think we get quite a few readings as well, like professional readings to have a look through and quite often they’re from teachers who have had the same issues. And I've always found those quite insightful.

Liz Crisp - Teacher
Another part of our professional development is a little meeting that we have of teachers called the Quality Learning Circle. And it's a chance to sit down and bring to the table our thoughts about our Pasifika children and other children. To perhaps look at a reading, some data, to share ideas, and problems, find solutions, and just work together to better help our Pasifika children in their learning.

Actuality - Quality Learning Circle

Liz Crisp - Teacher
One thing that came out of some professional development we did was, it was around having some learning conversations. So something we put in place last year was sitting down with one of the pasifika children in our class and on a regular basis, weekly, talk about their learning, and record what was happening. And I think it had two effects, it one helped me get to know that child really well and they also me, so we had a great rapport but also we both became really knowledgeable and very specific about where the child was at in their learning and so the learning steps became really tight and really clear. And those children progressed really really well as a result of that. Not easy to do in a busy classroom and not easy to do for every child but really effective to target a child in that way if you’re a little bit concerned or just know there needs to be something happen to help them learn.