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Research shows that there are clear educational advantages in bilingual learning, but using a Pasifika language has sometimes been considered a liability.
I enjoy this school because there’s heaps of Pacific Island students here that I can relate to. There’s heaps of Pacific Island teachers which can help you. In maths, there’s a maths teacher who's Tongan, a science teacher. We can go to them for help and they’ll explain to us in the language that we will understand. All the Tongan students are together, the teacher writes a question on the board in English, and we write it in our books and we’ll translate it in Tongan, we’ll work out the problem in Tongan and speak to each other, and from there, one person will shout out the answer in English and give it to the teacher.
(Yeah? And in what other subjects do we use these words?
I used to always have problems with my maths, and so, my aunty’s a teacher here at Tangaroa, and we’ll go home and she’ll help me with my maths, talk to me in Tongan, and show me the right way. It’s important to me so that I can explain it to my younger siblings, so that I understand it in my language and so that I can elaborate more in English, ‘cause I can understand both.
I like speaking two languages. I think it’s good, because some people, I don’t think they have this experience of speaking in two languages. I feel lucky, ‘cause I can speak in two languages.