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Download the video clip (15.56 MB)

Duration: 4:14

This clip is from the Connections and Conversations DVD. The DVD and accompanying booklet can be ordered via email from orders@thechair.minedu.govt.nz or phone 0800 226 440. Quote Item number 11061.

This part considers the potentially differing expectations of teachers and parents towards Pasifika students and their learning.

Key content


Key content

Research over many years has shown how expectations held by teachers about their students are highly influential in terms of student achievement. Some Pasifika students on the DVD describe their experiences and how they believe some teachers see them as less competent learners.

At the same time, some Pasifika parents may want their children to become doctors, lawyers and to pursue particular professional careers. School is expected to be the launching pad for these expectations to be fulfilled.

Pasifika students may find themselves pulled between these sometimes contradictory sets of expectations. Schools and teachers need to consider how best to set up opportunities for conversations to take place between all those concerned (teachers, parents and students) in supporting Pasifika students to increase their learning in all curriculum areas.

To order the Connections & Conversations booklet and DVD, item number 11061,
email orders@thechair.minedu.govt.nz or phone 0800 226 440.

Things to think about


Things to think about

Expectations are usually based on a set of perspectives or assumptions we as teachers may make about learners, their backgrounds, and their capabilities. Examine some of the current views you hold about your Pasifika students.

Which views do you think will assist you to create a safe and inclusive classroom? Which assumptions may hinder your ability to do that?

Reflect on your current views and expectations of the students in your classroom. Are these views and expectations effectively supporting the teaching and learning?




Relevancy and Expectations

The rich and meaningful experiences of students can be drawn on for teaching and learning, providing proactive teachers with a rich resource within the classroom.

For a lot of my colleagues for example the Poly Club is seen as you know something extra curricular, singing and dancing, that's it, finished, good show. Whereas for me and the boys that I teach and their parents, Poly Clubs are a structure, a school structure that I can use. It's about obedience, tautua service, alofa, loyalty, respect, and you know just discipline. I wanted Poly Club and all those hours to mean something. So number one that the boys would walk away with some achievement standard. So what I did was I read through with another Samoan teacher, we looked through the dance curriculum and then we sat with that dance curriculum and wrote an assessment.

Lisa-Jane Rogers – Ministry of Education
I'd like to encourage teachers to view their students experiences Pacific students, all students experiences as a really vital ingredient in the whole learning process, and in the whole teaching process. I think students have really varied experiences.

Some schools focus in on broadening opportunities for students to gain additional learning experiences outside the classroom and local community. This is essential for all students since what schools and teachers provide young people today can prepare them for the future.

Tone Kolose – Principal
We have had a group that has gone to Dunedin and stayed at Mt Cook. And it's about saying, hey look there is life outside. And hopefully the experiences they get, they can decide what their path's going to be when they go onto further education.

Research has highlighted the importance of teacher expectations on student achievement. Low expectations are seen to produce lower levels of attainment. Research also shows that high but realistic expectations influence higher levels of achievement but need to be supported by quality teaching.

Faamatuainu Tino Pereira
That is a critical observation, a critical finding. Now my question is how many teachers know that. How many teachers are prepared to acknowledge that at the end of the day it is their attitude, it is their performance, it is their response, to those particular kids that will ultimately determine how they learn.

Lise Valla'au – University Student
What I noticed when I first started school was when I got there it was Pacific Island students were already seen as a dead end. So it doesn't help the child going into an environment like that, knowing that okay, my teachers are teaching me, but they don't really care about whether I achieve this or not.

Josie Year 13
Well I feel sometimes that a lot of people look down at us, and like they don't....they don't think that we are good enough.

For some students the expectation of parents and the community can be very high. But if these are unrealistic they can create real challenges for students in terms of being able to meet those expectations.

Diane Mara – Pacific Researcher
I think that Pacific parents have very high expectations for their children. Sometimes they are unrealistic and I think that's the time when they need to be talking to the teachers. I think also Pacific parents want teachers to be honest and straightforward. I think a lot of Pacific parents have only been called up to school when their children are in trouble. And I think that as teachers we need to be thinking about celebrating the things that children do well, and inviting their parents into be involved in that success.

Quality teaching involves teachers ensuring their classrooms are safe for all students, are inclusive, and where risk taking and learning is encouraged and valued. Teachers may also need to develop a range of strategies for developing students critical and analytical thinking. Through the use of higher order questioning, cooperative group work, and the use of wait time for student responses. They may also need to focus on explicit teaching of academic language, particularly for bilingual students who may be processing information using two different languages.