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It’s about creating environments with students at the centre, where Pasifika students have the focus and learning support they need to lift their academic achievement patterns.
It’s all about the students. It’s about how schools, families and communities find ways to work together to support and encourage their Pasifika students to enjoy school, engage with learning, aim high, and achieve academically and socially. It’s about how they help them to be the best they can possibly be.
When students are at the centre, and everyone works together with the same focus and purpose to provide the teaching and learning support where it is needed, then Pasifika students flourish. In a supportive teaching and learning environment, they gain confidence in themselves and their potential to learn, individually and collectively. As a result, they lift their achievement.
Among other things, school leadership is crucial to lifting student performance.
“Our primary conclusion is that pedagogically focussed leadership has a substantial impact on student outcomes. The more leaders focus their influence, their learning, and their relationships with teachers on the core business of teaching and learning, the greater their influence on student outcomes."
School Leadership and Student Outcomes: Identifying What Works and Why: Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration, page 40.
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
Things to think about
- Do you know what your Pasifika students want to get from their schooling? How did you find out?
“Alignment across whole school policies and communities has been found to be critical also for developing safe environments where students respect each other, and bullying and violence is reduced”.
Quality Teaching for Diverse Students in Schooling: Best Evidence Synthesis, page 31.
- Do your Pasifika students enjoy coming to school, and being at school? How do you know?
- How do you want your Pasifika students to feel about coming to school? What do you do to achieve this?
- How does your school reward good behaviour and achievement? Are Pasifika students among those that are rewarded in this way? If not, why not? What improvements could you make?
- Do you have a strong focus on teaching and learning in your school? Are there changes you could make that would benefit your Pasifika students?
Victoria - student
I know my teachers like teaching us because if they come to school that means that they, they care about us and they want us to have a better future.
Joseph - student
When I leave school I want to be a doctor and a teacher so when I grow up I teach them what I was learning when I'm this age.
I want them to feel they belong. I want them to feel that this is their place that they have something to contribute. That this is not a place that tells them what to do or gives them instructions, that this is the place that assists them to be the best they can possibly be. And teaches them to stretch themselves. I think our children need to be challenged.
Camilla - student
When I first started it was real different 'cause I didn't think I was good enough to go to university, but the teachers, they believed in me and made me believe in myself. Yeah, I'm going to uni next year, I don't know what uni, but I know I am going to study sports and rec conjoint with business commerce.
A school is about its students. We are here because of the students, not for ourselves. A school is about the girls in the school and they need to know that they are the centre of the school. It's not the teachers, we are the workers, it's the girls who are the centre of the school, it’s the girls who are being given an opportunity that's going to determine the whole future of their life.
Mele - student
We have big support from our teachers. They help us with after school stuff. They always offer, it's never you come to me, they always give it to us.
I tell them their education is like a cloak that they put over themselves, and if that cloak is faulty or ragged or has holes in it, their whole life is going to be affected by that lack of education. And if their cloak is warm, that education is going to look after them for the rest of their life.
Kuini - student
It's a way that we can gain knowledge for our future, and for what we want to do in the future, so that we can make our lives better. Not only for ourselves, but also our families.
If I was in the role of advising principals the one thing I would say is make sure you've got a two way dialogue going on, students, teachers, and teachers, parents, teachers students and teachers-principals. Talk to each other. You’ll find that you find the problems a lot, lot quicker.
The new curriculum, along with the key competencies, along with the understanding and the contract of how the Pasifika children may learn has meant that teachers are more in a partnership with their children, and that we have all got the same focus and purpose. And that is also about the learning but it's also about the individual learning. It's also about seeing the children as individuals and making sure that the whole child is worked with.
Marcel - student
What makes a good teacher for me is like if they get along with me cause I hate it when teachers can't get along with me, because I feel really sad and stuff like that, 'cause they don't know me.
My personal vision for my Pasifika students is to be successful, I want them to be proud of who they are with their culture, proud of who they are as a learner and proud of who they are with their faith, being a faith school, and that they can do anything and achieve anything. They have just as much ability, backing with parents and family to be able to do anything they want. So we want them to leave our school as leaders, when they hit year 9 we want to hear about them getting the awards, for maths, for science, for sport, for music. We want them to keep coming back to our school and telling us how well they are going.
Lisa - student
I would say to all teachers to encourage their students to never give up, to always take a risk in learning stages, and to push students to the limit where they’re meant to be so they can reach their age stage level.