Te Kete Ipurangi Navigation:

Te Kete Ipurangi
Communities
Schools

Te Kete Ipurangi user options:


You are here:

Effective teaching for Pasifika students – Strategies for success: Media gallery

Data – how is it used?

Pasifika students find it motivating when teachers keep them informed about their levels of achievement, share the learning intentions with them and adjust their teaching to scaffold their learning pathways so that they know exactly what to do next.

 

Key content

Sharing achievement data with their Pasifika students helps teachers to make their learning explicit and meaningful for them. Pasifika learners find it motivating to have ready and ongoing access to their own achievement data. Their use of the data and the learning conversations they have with others about their progress and next-steps learning improves their achievement patterns. These also develop their self-analysis and self-management competencies and build their confidence as learners as well.
“Effective teachers actively involve students in their own learning and assessment, make learning outcomes transparent to students, offer specific, constructive and regular feedback, and ensure that assessment practices impact positively on students' motivation. Assessment can improve teaching and learning when teachers adjust their teaching to take account of the results of assessment.”  Quality Teaching for Diverse Students in Schooling: Best Evidence Synthesis, page 89
Acknowledgment:
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

  • Do you feel confident using data on the achievement of your Pasifika students? If so, how do you use it? If not, why not? How could you improve your confidence and use?
  • How do you share data on the achievement of your Pasifika learners in your school? Can you give an example of knowing you’re on the right track as a result of the data you have collected?
  • How do you feel about sharing data on the achievements of your Pasifika students with colleagues at your school? Is it important to share your data? Why? Why not?
  • Do you share data on the achievement of your Pasifika students with the students themselves? How do you do this? What happens as a result? Do you also share the data with their parents? If you do, what are the benefits? If not, would you consider doing so?
  • How do you involve your Pasifika students in their own learning and assessment? Has this made a difference to their achievement patterns? Do you believe you need to improve their involvement? If so, how would you do this?

Transcript

Judy Hanna
For many years we have shared the data with the children so that they can understand what the learning is about and I would say over the last five years as a school we’ve got better at doing that. So that the teachers understand that the learning belongs to the children and the data belongs to the children. I may very well collect it all together to look at a school picture, but for me that’s not the important thing. The important thing is an individual child knowing where they’re at and knowing where they need to be next, and knowing the reasons why and knowing how they can get there. And knowing they’re not going to have to do it on their own, that the teacher is there to support them in that.

Faaifo – student
It is important to know your stages cause when you know them you know that you have to get a higher stage than what you were before.

Victoria – student
I think it’s important for me to know my levels because if I know that I’m at a low level, I’ll try to push myself to get to the highest level and try and reach it.

Don Biltcliffe 
Firstly I need to present back the information, the assessments that I’ve gathered on them and make sure that they understand what the assessment data is giving. Our next step from that is to really just discuss so that they’re clear about what the next step is.

Actuality

Gus – student
It helps us to achieve cause we know what we are on, so we know what we want to get to.

Marcel – student
I think it's good because then you know what to do, then you know what you have to achieve on. So then you have to like really work hard cause you've got what you want to learn. Now you have to try and do it.

Liz Crisp 
We sit down together and we set goals. Even with these young children we have a look at the information that I have gathered about them. We look at their writing or running records or whatever material I have, we say ‘well this is what you can do and this is what you need to do next’. So I take photos of them, use speech bubbles on the wall so its very visual. And when they achieve the goal we go and get a pink highlighter and off we go, and highlight that. I can do that now so I've achieved that learning. And I think again it’s making it very explicit for them, which works well.

Pouna – student
Our teacher she puts up paper on the wall and it will have the groups of maths, and they tell us what stage we are at, right next to it.

Ikenasio – student
The teacher will like, you go down to her during lunch, and she will tell you you're advanced for your group if you want to be in your own group or just want to stay with them. But if you're like not you know keeping up, she will just same thing, call you down and say you need to just keep going and stuff like to motivate you.

Tom Brown
Once students start NCA levels then we share their credit gathering with them. So the students should be constantly aware of how many credits they have, what those credits are in and what they’ve got to do to achieve the next level. It’s really vital that students are engaged in that. If the students don't know what stages they’re at then they can't really be expected to know what they have got to do to get to the next stage.

Inna – student
We have this system called KMAR. Every student has their own personal profile and the teachers can log on to it. They can show you your academic results. So for level one there’s a pie graph and teachers upload your results onto the system and then from that they make a pie graph out of it. So for each level of achievement, so if you got not achieved it will be red, achieved will be blue.

Mercy – student
As sisters we tend to help and just by looking at our results it does help us. We know in our graph there’s gold for excellence and then there’s red which is not achieved and basically we don’t want any reds on our graphs. It’s really depressing having red so our main goal is to have no red but get more gold in our graph.

Behaviour management

Safe and supportive environments, with coherent, clear and consistently enforced codes of behaviour and restorative discipline practices, contribute to learning gains for Pasifika students.

 

Key content

Leadership can facilitate the achievement of important academic and social goals by creating an environment that is conducive to success. An orderly environment makes it possible for teachers to focus on teaching and students to focus on learning.
 
"The findings suggest that leaders of effective schools succeed in establishing a safe and supportive environment by means of clear and consistently enforced social expectations and discipline codes. Restorative justice programmes are favoured, displacing punitive discipline practices. 
 
When ensuring an orderly and supportive environment, leaders in high-performing schools:

  • protect teaching time;
  • ensure consistent discipline routines;
  • identify and resolve conflicts quickly and effectively."

School Leadership and Student Outcomes: Identifying What Works and Why: Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration, page 43.
 
Coherence within a school at all levels is important to effectiveness. Coherence matters between levels in the school, across members of the school’s professional community, and between different instructional parts including teachers. 
 
Research into Pasifika achievement indicates that :
“The coherence between teachers appears to be especially significant so that there is consistency in pedagogical approaches as well as in focus and goals.” 
Ua Aoina le Manogi o le Lolo: Pasifika Schooling Improvement Research – Final Report, page viii.

Acknowledgment:

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

  • Do you have any behavioural problems with Pasifika students? Why? Why not?
  • Restorative justice is more about solutions than punishment. What’s your approach to discipline? Why? Does it work for Pasifika students?
  • Who do your Pasifika students look to for help when they get into difficulties? Is this what you want to happen?
  • If you operate a restorative justice model, have your Pasifika students increased their achievement as a result? If you do not have such a model, would you consider introducing it? Why? Why not?

“The findings suggest that leaders of effective schools succeed in establishing a safe and supportive environment by means of clear and consistently enforced social expectations and discipline codes.” 
School Leadership and Student Outcomes: Identifying What Works and Why: Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration, p43. 

  • Would you describe your school as a safe and supportive environment for Pasifika students? In what ways? Are there improvements you could make?

Transcript

Lynne Van Etten
The Restorative practice is about talking to the student, making them see what harm they've done to other people, and getting to restore that situation. And so often that could just be a one on one with the teacher, but also it might be in a bigger situation. It could even be a class conference where the student has done something that’s upset a lot of people in the class. So we often have a class restorative meeting. And often we will have parents as well involved in some of those restorative meetings.

Patrick Drumm 
You need to separate the action from the person, and again you're looking at the behavioural aspect of what a student might do if they’ve made a mistake, but still keeping the integrity of the person in highest regard. And again students will respond very positively when they know that they have an action to be accountable for but you are still caring for the individual.

Jacinta – student
It's a school thing, it's the Aorere way... attitude, organisation, respect, expectations, responsibility, and enjoyment, so like it is a school wide thing so we all learn that and that is what we go by every day.

Anne Miles 
We have high standards and we expect them to meet the high standards, the girls know that. I am often at the gate in the morning if they're late. The parents know the high standards. McAuley is known as a strict school amongst the community and I believe if you look after the little things like uniform, lateness, moving around, then you're not going to have problems with the big things.

Mele – student
It's good for them to encourage us to keep going and remind us of our role in society and our value, how important we are to communities.

Tone Kolose
We call it the Wymondley, the Wynmondley way, and there’s four expectations that we expect the children to follow when they’re at school and one of them is around keeping hands and feet to yourself, and we often talk with the children why do we do that and they know it’s to keep safe, keep themselves safe and keep others safe. To being in the right place at the right time, to respecting people’s property, and the school’s property. And part of that expectation is one of the things that we talk to the children about is that it’s alright to say no. It’s alright for people to say no you can’t borrow such and such, and that you should be able to accept that. But I think the most important one for us in terms of the expectations that we have on our students is making good choices, and that’s sort of a theme that we have within the school. I rarely deal with behaviour now in this school which is acknowledgement of the consistent approach that the staff have with behaviour. When I do have to reprimand children, when they do come into my office, I only say a couple of lines and that is – are you here for a good choice or a bad choice?

Glen Ryan 
The behaviour of our pupils has changed over the five years of our school. At the beginning it was punitive, detentions, so forth. We totally changed the model so we have a thinking model. So in the classrooms it's all focussed back on learning, so the teacher, we have a red card, yellow card, green card system. So great behaviour, positive affirmation, children love positive affirmation. A green card, positive response, if they're not on task, a yellow card, just think about what you're doing, no one's angry, no one is yelling it's all nice and calm, it's about learning, a red card means time out, have a think. So they have a thinking spot. There're a few questions there, where they think about what they are doing when they are asked to go down. What should they doing, and what are they going to do when they come back to the classroom. And the child and the teacher have a discussion about learning, and the child is back in to their work. The peer mediators are helping in the playground, keeping things down, we are addressing issues as they come along, so the tone’s changed.

Strategies at work

Teachers use many different strategies to engage their Pasifika learners and help them to achieve. Their strategies work best when they are grounded in responsive and caring relationships with their Pasifika students and the focus on their learning is clear.

 

Key content

Successful teachers have many different ways of helping their Pasifika students to learn and achieve. These teachers adapt their pedagogy to the needs, interests, language and culture of their Pasifika learners, enjoying them as individuals and caring about them as learners. While keeping the lesson’s learning focus clear and explicit, they use strategies that motivate, engage, challenge and support their Pasifika learners in ways that help them to become confident, successful and independent learners. 

“If we are to make a difference to students, improving teaching practice should not be considered an end in itself but should be judged according to the impact on students”.  Teacher Professional Learning and Development: Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration, page 12

Acknowledgment:

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

  • What impact do the strategies you use have on your Pasifika students? Are some more successful than others? How do you know?
  • Do you feel that you are constantly improving your teaching practice to be responsive to your Pasifika learners? If so, in what ways? If not, why not?
  • Can you give examples of some strategies that you have used and find particularly effective with your Pasifika students? What outcomes have they achieved as a result? Have you shared this information with others? If so, who? If not, why not?
  • Do you ask other teachers about the strategies they use with their Pasifika students and which ones they find particularly successful? If not, would that be a useful thing for you to do?
  • What do you think you need to know in order to deepen your professional understandings (for example, your pedagogical content knowledge) and extend your skills so as to have a positive impact on your Pasifika students’ learning outcomes? If there are things you think you need to learn, how will you go about doing this?

Transcript

Inna – student
I like learning off people who actually enjoy themselves and are fun. You know someone who gets excited about teaching. 

Gus – student
I think a good teacher is someone who can lead you in the right direction so you can go on independently.

Camilla – student
Even when we don't get it they will try and find another way for us to understand. It's good when they explain it properly.

Liz Crisp
A style of learning which allows Pasifika children to engage in hands on way is particularly effective. I think it's effective for other children too, but particularly so for Pasifika children. Young children who come in and haven't had a lot of experience with English, immediately that gives them a context to talk. And I think talking, explaining, making connections, and realising that they have a lot to bring to the classroom is really important. 

Jacqueline Yates
I like to keep my kids moving all the time that's why I go outside a lot. I incorporate music in my lessons, art work, but it’s still at quite a high level of academics, I expect them to – it’s not just playing around, so also having a sense of humour with these kids they just love it. And I think what happens is that they build that respect for you, so that you’re joking with them, and it’s about keeping their attention.
Aina Masina
My teaching style is broken down in sort of like a process of doing things, step by step ... making sure that all the kids are following the step. The steps that I’ve wanted them to achieve by the end of the lesson. 

Actuality – Aina teaching in class

So you want to give them a little bit at a time and then you move onto something else. I like to keep it quick and fast.

Actality – Aina teaching in class
They can get easily bored, distracted, and they go off task. But if you keep the task simple, challenging, but effective where they’re doing things together, I think I will get more out of the lesson. 

Faaifo – student
A good teacher give us strategies to work out problems and they have lots of fun with us.

Moyeen McCoy
I can't just say "Oh girls, you know you're going to do an essay today, you know go to it’". I have to take them through step by step a pathway to achieve that and to explain how to do things in each part of the structure. So I would use writing frames for that, or some sort of structure that might not be as complex as a writing frame in its total entirety, but it will be a form of structure. Because I'm a visual thinker, a lot of our girls are and they find it helpful to have a framework, even if it's a metaphorical framework. 

Jacqueline Yates
First thing I probably look at is their learning styles. So I look at how they learn, do they like to learn through touch, do they like to learn through singing, do they like to learn just through rote learning – for example when I’m doing maths – I try and incorporate music and I take teaching points through the songs that I’m doing or I will use Playdoh and they have to break the Playdoh up and count the dots or make Playdoh numbers. I do a lot of learning outside, so we play games outside so that I’m catering to the children who need to release a lot of energy.

Actuality – Jacqueline teaching in class.

Leadership

School leaders who initiate and sustain an intensive focus on the teaching-learning relationship and promote collective responsibility and accountability for Pasifika students’ achievement and well-being can make a difference to the outcomes their Pasifika students achieve.

 

Key content

School leaders can make a difference to student achievement and well-being. The closer educational leaders get to the core business of teaching and learning and create environments that are conducive to success, the more likely they are to have a positive impact on Pasifika students. A strong academic focus can help Pasifika students to lift their achievement when it is based on a continuous cycle of in-depth collaborative exploration and analysis of the relationship between how and what teachers teach and how and what students learn.

“To engage in open-to-learning conversations, leaders need the skills and values that will make it possible for them to respectfully give and receive the tough messages that are an inevitable part of the process of improving teaching and learning.” 
School Leadership and Student Outcomes: Identifying What Works and Why: Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration, page 47

Acknowledgment:

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

  • What’s the vision for Pasifika students in your school? Who leads it? Does everyone in your school share this vision? If not, is this an issue that needs addressing?
  • “There is also evidence that suggests that the level of staff consensus on school goals is a significant discriminator between otherwise similar high- and low-performing schools”. 
    School Leadership and Student Outcomes: Identifying What Works and Why: Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration, page 40
    How would you describe the level of staff consensus in your school in relation to Pasifika students and their learning? Are there any changes you would want to make? Describe these
  • How does your school go about deliberately improving the teaching and learning of Pasifika students? How do you know this is working? Would you want to make any improvements? What would these be, and why?
  • Would you describe the culture of your school as a ‘culture of learning’? What about your classroom? What are the features of such a culture? How important are these features to you as a teacher in relation to raising the achievement of your Pasifika students?

Transcript

We have teachers who have been here for long time and the culture of the school is a culture of learning and the culture of learning sits with the teachers as well as with the children.

Jan Bills – Deputy Principal
I think the leadership that you need is a leadership that allows people to explore things and gives them the time to do it. I think it’s very important to have a risk-taking environment where you can take a risk within safe boundaries. I think what happens here is teachers are allowed to think about things and have a go, and if you don’t succeed it’s not the end of the earth it’s about thinking. And that is key competency and it’s about telling the children that they can think and it’s about letting teachers do that themselves. I think that leaders need to be open to other people’s ideas, it’s a joint thinking process, that everybody brings something to the table and everybody works with that.

Strengthening relationships

By integrating culture, caring, challenge and support into their pedagogies, teachers strengthen relationships and build communities of learners who succeed socially and academically.

 

Key content

Where teachers and Pasifika students develop strong relationships with each other , they each gain a more holistic view of the other person as an individual. Teachers who integrate cultural values and socio-cultural norms explicitly into their pedagogy increase levels of trust, acceptance, sharing and mutual support between students.

The term "learning community" is used to describe groups with an unrelenting focus on learning. Such a group may be the classroom. Here, the peer culture is shaped by the teacher to support the learning of each class member within a community of learners. This kind of community building, where it happens, ensures a positive, affirming social environment and supports academic and social outcomes of Pasifika learners. 

Caring practices alone are insufficient to create an environment that supports the learning of Pasifika students. The research evidence is clear: 
“Diversity is valued, addressed and integral to instructional strategies. Caring and support is integrated into pedagogy and evident in the practices of teachers and students. Academic norms are strong and not subverted by social norms. Students are enabled to express and process dissenting views. Disagreements around curriculum are valued and cognitive conflict is seen as a resource central to the learning process.” 
Quality Teaching for Diverse Students in Schooling: Best Evidence Synthesis, page 31.

Acknowledgment:

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

  • Pasifika students often lack self-confidence and self-belief. Do you agree? If you agree why do you think that? What support do you provide?
  • What “learning conversations” take place in your school? Who are the participants? What is achieved? Do they involve Pasifika students?

“Peer groups, especially at secondary school level, can profoundly influence children’s achievement. They can do so in positive ways, or negative ways”. 
Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration: Community and Family Influences, Section 3, page v.

  • How do you shape the peer group culture in your school to be a positive influence on the achievement patterns of your Pasifika students?

“The term 'learning community' denotes an unrelenting focus on, and active orientation to, learning and describes the kind of classroom where community building supports academic and social outcomes.” 
Quality Teaching for Diverse Students in Schooling: Best Evidence Synthesis, page 31.

  • Would this be an accurate description of your classroom with Pasifika learners? Is this a model you would want to aspire to?

Transcript

Esther 
I think what makes a really good teacher is the ones who build relationships with their students, get along, yeah.

Liz Crisp 
The challenges I think I face with some Pasifika students and their families would be along the lines that the children think they've come to school to sit and be quiet and listen to me, and that I'm going to pour knowledge into them and they will if they listen, get it. And that can be something to overcome because I want and need the children to talk and relate to me, and work with me. So there’s a little shake down time while we work that out.

Glen Ryan 
Children arrive to school with less understanding would be my belief. ABC's, 1,2,3's they’re not so familiar with them. Sometimes it's the language and it can be a barrier. If the teacher doesn't have the language, they don't think the child knows. But have someone speaking Samoan or Tongan, they know it. So often that is an issue, and yes they won't ask questions so they will be more reserved and the teacher’s the higher person and they won’t question that they’ll just follow so they look quiet and shy but they're not.

Anne Dyer 
One of the things I think is important is that we don't keep looking at the students from a deficit model, oh they don't know, oh they don't understand. You have to keep in mind that every student is capable and every student has the ability to do well. It's just that you have to bring it out of them. You have to find a way to get that student to participate. And when students do that then they just move. For the Pasifika students you really have to build up that confidence and provide a learning that allows them to be able to share their knowledge and to know that what they bring is respected and it's valued. That’s really important.

Nola Dougall 
So I've learnt to appreciate the differences between the different pasifika cultures that we have here. I've been on a Malanga, a trip with the students to Samoa and learnt an enormous amount about where these students have come from and that to me was one of the most valuable learning experiences.

Giovana 
I think what makes a good teacher is a teacher who really knows their students because then they know our weaknesses and our strengths and make use of those weaknesses to work with us to better what we need to make to improve on and to get our strengths and make it so then it can, we can aim higher and do better with those strengths.

Moyeen McCoy
I would describe the relationship that I would like to have as an open relationship, with a wee bit of distance in it, because I am the teacher, and I would like it to be an open exchange of views because a lot of what we do here is to encourage the girls to speak out, and to articulate views.

Moyeen McCoy
I like it to be positive. Negative relationships with students just don't work; the work just doesn't get done. It has to be a kind of energetic relationship if that makes sense, where there is energy being exchanged between two parties rather than the teacher giving it all and the students sitting like a stone.

Nazareen 
My favourite teachers are they are like my friends in a way where they can teach us and still have that line where you can't really cross.

Esther 
It's okay to be wrong the teachers let you like make your mistakes so that you can like learn from it, so that really helps.

Pouna 
A good teacher is like, they respond to their children, and they, you know they have like good comments, and what you need to improve on. And they are like help them with their learning and that.

Moyeen McCoy
I think it's really important to understand the culture of the students that you're teaching as much as you can from your own perspective. But I don't think it's expected that you have chapter and verse on somebody else's culture. And I also think it's important that you act the person that your are.... you act out the person that you are, rather than try and take on somebody else's culture. There are certain things that you need to know, that you need to understand about pacific island culture, particularly to do with the community and the families. And I think if you don't know those things then it's incumbent on you to learn them because it would be very difficult for you to move in those circles unless you did know those things.

Aina Masina
As pasifika children, the culture that they bring in is, is very diverse, so it can be a handful for teachers who don’t understand those cultures, but by putting their own culture to the side, and valuing what the kids bring into the classroom, is one good step of moving effective teaching practice into place. There are three similarities that I take into account; it’s the family, their religion, and also their traditions and their customs. I know a lot of the things that they bring into the classroom, and what they can offer. And being effective around that is utilising a lot of that, their strengths.

Understanding Pasifika culture to support Pasifika students

Maggie Flavell, explains the the perspective of a non Pasifika person working with Pasifika students. She talks about the importance of learning about the Pasifika culture to enable her to better engage with Pasifika students and their families. She also talks about the value of having a good support network to support her own professional development.

 

Transcript

I chose my research, because I had been in the country, coming from England, I had been here a few years, and was starting to teach students with a Pacific Island background, and I felt that I needed to understand that background better myself.  

I think I was particularly prompted by a conversation I had with a parent. When I rang expecting to talk about the speech topic that my son, (that my son) was doing for English, and I was hoping that we could talk about it and share ideas, only to discover that the parent was very particular to talk about behaviours and standards in the classroom. (And) it was at that point I realised I am on a slightly different page, and so that might be good reason for me to get to know students better. 

But I have always strongly believed in building connections with family and I had a background in adult literacy form the UK where I worked a lot with adults so I’ve understood the whole nature of education within the family and how that opens doors. And for that reason I wanted to see how I could, what I could build those connections between home and school I think the research was a huge learning curve for me. And I now understand when I speak with individuals that are from a Pacific Island culture they kinda say, “Yea, we know, we know.” But for me I really didn’t know and I felt it was important to share my reaction and what I found out with staff at school and other teachers because they also might make the same assumptions that I was making. And an important lesson I have learned is that parents really, really, really do care about their children’s education and even they themselves, or their parents or their grandparents came to New Zealand because they cared about opening doors for their children and giving them the best possible education that they could. 

Quite often we make assumptions or teachers can make assumptions that parents are not interested because they don’t attend parent evenings, and the important lessons I have learned through meeting with parents and understanding their perspective, is that maybe they don’t understand the school system that well, and maybe they don’t always feel that connected. They don’t feel that they can ask questions because that might appear disrespectful,. (And) they are incredibly busy people with large families and church commitments, and these can often override events that happen at school. But just because they don’t attend the meetings that’s not to say they don’t care or that they don’t want to be involved, and so this is one of the lessons that I guess I have learnt, that it’s up to us to change our policies and practices. (And) to be more open, to be more flexible to allow time to build relationships, because a five minute conversation is never going to be long enough, you can’t have reciprocal dialogue and build relationships, really share the journey, understanding for the best for that child in just these very very brief slots.

Another message that came across to me I hadn’t particularly appreciated before, is because parents are so keen for children to do well, that the children can perceive quite a lot of pressure for them to perform, and that’s why they often play a passive role, because their fear of disappointing might lead them to be particularly quiet and particularly passive and they don’t want to report back to their parents or to speak out in class just in case it’s wrong or they make a mistake. And that doesn’t help the parents because they want to know what’s happening and their children aren’t telling them and that only further adds to the frustration on behalf of the parents. And so I feel that a journey we can do as teachers and educators is to help help draw that journey together, help teachers and parents share that common target and share information and build those bridges.

Two years ago, I listened to you, in fact, I came and listened to the workshop which talked about the connections between home and school and how to build those bridges, and that really really got me thinking and from that I learned a lot, and it was great because I could try out my ideas on the VLN forum. You can sort of ask questions, and it’s not until you articulate what you are thinking and you can test it out with somebody and then a kind person responds and gives you feedback to know if you’re on the right path or not, so it’s a really important journey to be able to keep those conversations going. Cause otherwise you feel quite lonely and you feel quite distant. And sometimes especially doing research, you can sit alone, on your computer and your thinking “Am I just thinking complete and utter rubbish, but what if I type it out, send out a message and get some feedback? And then I know I’m on track” So lovely to be a part of it.

Building relationships

Mutually respectful, caring and open relationships, which motivate and engage Pasifika students, form the heart of effective teaching.

 

Key content

Relationships matter. The teacher-student relationship plays a vital part in successfully engaging Pasifika students in their learning. When teachers and students develop mutually respectful, happy and open relationships, characterised by empathy and humour as well as academic challenge, Pasifika students are more willing to be involved in their learning and become more accepting of what education can do for them. They learn that schools can be a safe and happy place for Pasifika students, a place where they are cared for and cared about as they become confident with inquiry learning processes. 
Research also evidences the link between strong teacher-student relationships and high achievement:
“....there is the dimension of a strong emotional relationship which, together with the instructional attributes, has elements of being both rigorous and challenging as well as being respectful and empathetic. The former includes high expectations and the latter a Pasifika sense for the students of education being service-oriented and, from the teacher, positive affect expressed with devices such as Pasifika-oriented humour.” 
Ua Aoina le Manogi o le Lolo: Pasifika Schooling Improvement Research – Final Report, #10, page viii.

Acknowledgment:

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

  • Do your Pasifika students appreciate what their teachers do for them? How do you know? What things could teachers do better?
  • Is the relationship you have with your Pasifika students different from the relationship you have with other students? If so, in what ways is it different, and why? If not, should it be different?
  • Describe the kind of relationship you want with your Pasifika students. How would you go about developing it? Why is this important?

“No matter how sound a leader’s pedagogical knowledge and problem-solving ability might be, their impact will be limited if relationships within the school are characterised by an absence of trust.” 
School Leadership and Student Outcomes: Identifying What Works and Why: Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration, page 43.

  • How would you describe the level of trust within your school in relation to your Pasifika students. Should it improve? How?

Transcript

Tone Kolose
Your one may be different to the rest of the groups. You're arguing the point that you think it may be a waste of time whereas they're arguing the point that they don't think it's a waste of time. 

Student
You'd be angry if I didn't agree.

Tone Kolose 
No, I wouldn't be angry. I think that it's really good to argue your point why you think homework is a waste of time. 
Was he scared?

Student
Yeah he's scared of you. 

Tone Kolose
What were you scared of?. That I would disagree with you?. 

Tone Kolose
In terms of our Pasifika students they work best with people who believe in them, people who push them, adults who tell them where they are and where they need to move to.

Aina Masina
Hands up those people who don't have a reason in their heads.

Tone Kolose
For a lot of our students because of the backgrounds they come from, I think school’s like a sanctuary for them, like a safe place because we can’t change what happens at home, but we can definitely change, make a difference in the 6 hours that we have in the classroom setting. 

Tom Brown
I think it's absolutely vital to build relationships with Pasifika students in particular. When I first arrived here four years ago I found that my hardest task was getting students to talk to me and that was because of a kind of a distance respect. My position as teacher was respected and students felt that they couldn't question, couldn't ask. Breaking that down was really, really vital. And until we broke that down, then no teaching....no worthwhile teaching was going on in the classroom.

Tom Brown
So what it needs to say, one...

Chris
Your heart.

Tom Brown
Your heart. The core area, you call it the core area from here upwards to the brain, like Chris said, but the heart as well. 

Foalalo
Your teachers encourage you to be more confident and more open, that's what helped me to be more open and ask questions.

Liz Crisp
There are differences in my background that are obvious to the children. And so I work hard to find connections with them and it can be as simple as that we both have a dog at home. I share photos of me with my family. I have five kids, that's a great connecting point because they understand that, they understand me being a mother. They understand that stuff happens in my home, and they love to hear about that, and I think all those things build together to help me relate to the children and them to relate to me. That overcomes those differences for them.

Faiga
A good teacher will encourage us to do our best. Come into the classroom in the morning with a happy face and um, doing lots of fun stuff with us.

Nola Dougall
You can have students in the high decile school that don't get on with a teacher but they learn regardless. Our girls, if they felt that they didn't get on with a teacher the relationship wasn't right, then they won't learn, they will switch off. So it's really important that the relationships between teacher and student, between parent and family, that we work hard on maintaining good really good relationships.

Kuini
I feel that the teachers at our school are usually compassionate. They do care for us because they do want us to achieve otherwise they wouldn't be here. 

Cecelia
They are the type of teachers that when you leave you are going to come back and see them because they are just like amazing. 

Patrick Drum
Extremely important in any school and particularly in this school to make academic learning the priority, but it doesn't happen in isolation, so we work very hard in forming strong relationships outside the classroom. So staff are encouraged to be involved in the coaching of sport, and the cultural life of the school. The music is very, very strong here, and all the skills in those areas, the assumption is that they are the same sort of skills that can be transferred back into the classroom. We encourage staff to build those relationships first and foremost, and then that makes the learning process a lot more satisfactory and possible really.

Camilla
I have a favourite teacher and he's funny, and there's a bond like it's not just a teacher student, and when I'm wrong he doesn't go oh, it's all right, and he'll know where everything is wrong and he will correct me. Very supportive and it's easy to talk to him.

David
I have a fairer teacher here as well, he is funny, and he's not all just reading out to the class, he's like out there. Gets us involved, and he also makes us like education, instead of being bored in class. Like a teacher just sitting at the desk doing nothing. He's always moving around, checking on us if we're doing the right work.

Atina
I think a good teacher should have....should be supportive, someone who can acknowledge and recognise that you know that you have problems, and they should tend to those problems. But most importantly for me is the support and just to be there for the students.

Language

Knowing a Pasifika language is not a barrier to being successful in English-medium schooling. Teachers who value and share the languages that Pasifika students bring with them into the classroom and deliberately build their English language skills help their Pasifika students to succeed.

 

Key content

Teachers find ways to value the languages that their Pasifika students bring with them into the classroom, integrating them into their own knowledge and classroom teaching. In turn, they teach their Pasifika students the kinds of English language that they need to help them progress their learning. Uneven patterns of achievement in the early years of schooling may occur for those students with a Pasifika language or both a Pasifika and English language background, yet recent research evidence indicates that being bilingual is not a barrier to the academic achievement of Pasifika learners. Newly arrived students benefit from explicit induction and support so that they can develop the knowledge and skills that schooling in New Zealand requires.

“But from the middle and upper primary and into the secondary years the sense is that bilingualism may (under important conditions not tested here, such as level of bilingualism) lead to similar outcomes (as having a strong English-only status), and in a wider sense confer other advantages”. 
Ua Aoina le Manogi o le Lolo: Pasifika Schooling Improvement Research – Final Report, page ix

Acknowledgment:

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

  • Do you expect your Pasifika students to use suitable academic language in English? What do you do to support their learning? How do you reward them for their efforts?
  • What support does your school offer to Pasifika students who are more comfortable with using their Pasifika language in class? How does this support help their learning?
  • What is your school’s attitude towards Pasifika students using their home languages in class? Are you supportive of this? If so, why? If not, why not? What would you prefer to see happen?
  • What specific strategies do you use to develop in your Pasifika students the English language skills that they need for them to progress their learning? Are they effective? How do you know?
  • What steps have you taken to engage with the languages and cultures of your Pasifika learners? How would your Pasifika students know that you have taken an interest in these?

Transcript

Merita Amani-Heisifa
I try to use our first language and then they make that connection with the English. Especially in math because the numbers in Samoan is how you say it, but in English it's different. The non-Samoan or Tongan speaking teachers would get another child to interpret for the other one they buddy up. So that 's another good way of helping that other child with the language. Children who do come in with their first language have a lot to offer, it's just making that connection with the English language.

Actuality – Merita with students

Don Biltcliffe
I celebrate the children in my class who are bilingual. That gives them a little bit of mana, that gives them a little bit of self-esteem, they feel quite proud of themselves. I ask them to teach me words and phrases and we use them in our assemblies when my class present, we use them in our classroom everyday.

Jacqueline Yates
I have a young teacher aide - Donna. She is Samoan and she is fluent in speaking Samoan. I have children who come into my class who don’t speak English, mainly Samoan children. I feel as though the best way to teach children English is to start with their own language first, so Donna is constantly speaking to them in Samoan, translating what I’ve just said, and I also speak a little bit of Samoan. I’ve got my own Samoan little kiddie booklet that I try; I’m trying to learn it as well. But Donna’s there. They love her. They go to her. They trust her. As soon as she speaks something in Samoan you can see something clicks. They understand.

Moyeen McCoy
Some of the most important things that I have to remember when I'm teaching our Pasifika students, maybe the first thing that I would think of naturally would be the matter of vocabulary. Today I'll be teaching how to answer an exam question which is a pretty scary thing, so the first thing I will do is I will look at vocabulary and I'll look at a way into the question because I have to demystify a lot of the language and phrasing that is used in the formal situation of the examination which students have to deal with. Vocabulary is very very important for our students; they really stumble over quite a lot of common words that you would expect that they would know. I also have to make a pathway through a task.

Actuality – Moyeen with students

High expectations

High expectations, together with the vision of Pasifika students as successful learners, improve relationships, pedagogy and academic outcomes.

 

Key content

"Inappropriate teacher expectations can undermine students, or constitute a barrier to effective practice. Teacher expectations have been found to vary by student ethnicity, dis/ability, gender and other student characteristics unrelated to a student's actual capability." 
Quality Teaching for Diverse Students in Schooling: Best Evidence Synthesis, page 16.

Acknowledgment:

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

  •  What’s your personal vision for Pasifika students in your school? Do others in your school share your vision? Why? Why not?
  •  “They push you to strive to your best abilities...like they never give up on you.” [Year 12 female student, Aorere College, Auckland]. Would your students say this about you, and other teachers in your school? How would you know?
  •  What academic areas are particularly challenging for your Pasifika students? Why? How do you address this?
  •  “Our students now find it easier to be proud of their academic achievements as well as their sporting achievements”. [Anne Miles, Principal, McAuley High School, Auckland]. Would this be true for the Pasifika students in your school?
  •  What kinds of support do your Pasifka students have to help them to achieve academically and socially? What more might be needed?

Transcript

Jordan – student
I want to be a computer engineer.

Victoria – student
When I finish all my schooling then I want to go to university and get a degree of being a Chef.

Celeste – student
I want to go to University and be a teacher.

Filitino – student
I want to be an inventor, a scientist and a biologist.

Jaqueline Yates
In this school and I think this is probably one of the keys to our success, is we have very high expectations for them. We expect them to meet the national standards. We don’t expect them to fail. And because of that they reach for that, and because we’re saying to them, we know you can do this, we know you can, ok you’ve got a little bit more work to do than maybe some other people but we know you can do it. And provide them the right tools and they achieve it.

Joseph – student
I like my teacher 'cause she gives me hard mathematic works and hard reading books for us to take home for our reading logs.

Judy Hanna 
We've always had high expectations at this school, and what it means is that every child needs to reach their full potential. So we have teachers who go outside their comfort zone and outside the square to make sure that the children have the very best opportunity to reach their full potential in terms of literacy and numeracy, in terms of their artistic talent, in terms of their leadership. We're turning out children who are excited about their learning and who are confident in themselves, and that all sits around a high expectation.

Ikenasio – student
I think my teacher's good because she gives me hard work, with math and she gives me homework, chapter books, and I like reading chapter books.

Nazareen – student
I want to go to uni to study medicine to become a doctor.

Foalalo – student
Waikato university to study Sports and rec.

Jacinta – student
I want to go to university and do a Conjoint of commerce and law.

Patrick Drumm 
It's easy to fail in terms of teaching and setting our expectations too low. Those low expectations are always achieved. I think the challenge is to set them high and then instil that belief in students that they can achieve to that level.

Joseph – student
I like the teacher to actually lay out what's expected, his or her expectation from us students, and then I would work hard trying to actually live up to that expectation.

Lucy Wymer
Pasifika students are a lot more motivated. I think with the help of teachers they've got a lot more self-belief. They recognise that we've got high expectations, and instead of thinking they’re not going to get there, and they now know that with some help and support they can get there. So that self-belief is really important.

Moyeen McCoy
Students don't have that much confidence in themselves and they need to be continually told that they can do things. But it has to be realistic as well. You need to be honest with students, if they’re aiming for something, which is not going to be possible you need to find another way. There is always another way, but basically positivity, high expectations, very very important.

Carmelita – student
When I leave school I’m aiming to be a teacher in history and English.

Faiga – student
I would like to be a lawyer. I like standing up for people and myself. That’s why.

Malia – student
I just want to become a successful person and make my parents proud.

Anne Miles 
We’re aiming high, we’re making the girls aim high and we’re making it clear to them that they can be as good as the national average if not better. But that it takes work, determination and guts. And again it comes back to getting the students to take ownership and the teachers to motivate.

Bernadette – student
To help out my parents next year when I gain a scholarship at year 13 and go to Auckland university and go into the engineering faculty.

Anne Miles 
One of our ex–students is a nuclear physicist in Germany in Berlin, and others are now lawyers and social workers. There’s total support from pasifika people that we want to achieve academically because we want those positions and we want those jobs.

Giovana – student
I am interested in doing forensic science and looking at how we’re made and different organisms that put us together and stuff. But yeah, the biology aside, I want to be a forensic scientist when I leave school.

Anne Miles 
I notice the Jordan – student
I want to be a computer engineer.

Victoria – student
When I finish all my schooling then I want to go to university and get a degree of being a Chef.

Celeste – student
I want to go to University and be a teacher.

Filitino – student
I want to be an inventor, a scientist and a biologist.

Jaqueline Yates
In this school and I think this is probably one of the keys to our success, is we have very high expectations for them. We expect them to meet the national standards. We don’t expect them to fail. And because of that they reach for that, and because we’re saying to them, we know you can do this, we know you can, ok you’ve got a little bit more work to do than maybe some other people but we know you can do it. And provide them the right tools and they achieve it.

Joseph – student
I like my teacher 'cause she gives me hard mathematic works and hard reading books for us to take home for our reading logs.

Judy Hanna 
We've always had high expectations at this school, and what it means is that every child needs to reach their full potential. So we have teachers who go outside their comfort zone and outside the square to make sure that the children have the very best opportunity to reach their full potential in terms of literacy and numeracy, in terms of their artistic talent, in terms of their leadership. We're turning out children who are excited about their learning and who are confident in themselves, and that all sits around a high expectation.

Ikenasio – student
I think my teacher's good because she gives me hard work, with math and she gives me homework, chapter books, and I like reading chapter books.

Nazareen – student
I want to go to uni to study medicine to become a doctor.

Foalalo – student
Waikato university to study Sports and rec.

Jacinta – student
I want to go to university and do a Conjoint of commerce and law.

Patrick Drumm 
It's easy to fail in terms of teaching and setting our expectations too low. Those low expectations are always achieved. I think the challenge is to set them high and then instil that belief in students that they can achieve to that level.

Joseph – student
I like the teacher to actually lay out what's expected, his or her expectation from us students, and then I would work hard trying to actually live up to that expectation.

Lucy Wymer
Pasifika students are a lot more motivated. I think with the help of teachers they've got a lot more self-belief. They recognise that we've got high expectations, and instead of thinking they’re not going to get there, and they now know that with some help and support they can get there. So that self-belief is really important.

Moyeen McCoy
Students don't have that much confidence in themselves and they need to be continually told that they can do things. But it has to be realistic as well. You need to be honest with students, if they’re aiming for something, which is not going to be possible you need to find another way. There is always another way, but basically positivity, high expectations, very very important.

Carmelita – student
When I leave school I’m aiming to be a teacher in history and English.

Faiga – student
I would like to be a lawyer. I like standing up for people and myself. That’s why.

Malia – student
I just want to become a successful person and make my parents proud.

Anne Miles 
We’re aiming high, we’re making the girls aim high and we’re making it clear to them that they can be as good as the national average if not better. But that it takes work, determination and guts. And again it comes back to getting the students to take ownership and the teachers to motivate.

Bernadette – student
To help out my parents next year when I gain a scholarship at year 13 and go to Auckland university and go into the engineering faculty.

Anne Miles 
One of our ex–students is a nuclear physicist in Germany in Berlin, and others are now lawyers and social workers. There’s total support from pasifika people that we want to achieve academically because we want those positions and we want those jobs.

Giovana – student
I am interested in doing forensic science and looking at how we’re made and different organisms that put us together and stuff. But yeah, the biology aside, I want to be a forensic scientist when I leave school.

Anne Miles 
I notice the difference we’re getting second generation and we've got daughters of McAuley students coming to the school and so it's like the culture of the school is just mushrooming as it moves forward. And there's an even greater perception each year of achievement and the importance of success.

Mercy – student
After High School I plan to go to university to further my knowledge about music and at the same time do two psychology papers because I enjoy socialising with autistic kids, and I love my music so I would like to become an autistic therapist, or a music therapist.

Joseph – student 
The reason I want to become an architect, is because I've never heard of any Islander who‘s ever become one.

Atina – student
There’s actually lots of things I want to do, there’s youth and social work to be a part time choreographer and to be a paediatrician.

Joseph – student
Right now my dream is to design a skyscraper, but first I want to design like normal buildings, houses.

Atina – student
So hopefully I'm going to do my best in science, bio and chem and get into hopefully Otago University to study medicine and hopefully become a GP or Paediatrician and everything else will follow.

difference we’re getting second generation and we've got daughters of McAuley students coming to the school and so it's like the culture of the school is just mushrooming as it moves forward. And there's an even greater perception each year of achievement and the importance of success.

Mercy – student
After High School I plan to go to university to further my knowledge about music and at the same time do two psychology papers because I enjoy socialising with autistic kids, and I love my music so I would like to become an autistic therapist, or a music therapist.

Joseph – student 
The reason I want to become an architect, is because I've never heard of any Islander who‘s ever become one.

Atina – student
There’s actually lots of things I want to do, there’s youth and social work to be a part time choreographer and to be a paediatrician.

Joseph – student
Right now my dream is to design a skyscraper, but first I want to design like normal buildings, houses.

Atina – student
So hopefully I'm going to do my best in science, bio and chem and get into hopefully Otago University to study medicine and hopefully become a GP or Paediatrician and everything else will follow.

Transitions

School leaders have a role in establishing practices that support the continuity of their Pasifika students’ learning as they move from and into different learning environments.

 

Key content

Pasifika children who move between educational settings require special care. For example, their transition to schools from early childhood centres may require them to adapt to using English as the language of instruction. Other Pasifika children may not have experienced planned early childhood learning environments. 
 
When they have an explicit focus on Pasifika student learning, school leaders play a key role in ensuring that Pasifika students experience continuity as they move from one educational setting to another. 

“Leaders can create educationally powerful connections by:

  • establishing continuities betweens student identities and school practices
  • developing continuities and coherence across teaching programmes
  • ensuring effective transitions from one educational setting to another”

School Leadership and Student Outcomes: Identifying What Works and Why: Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration, page 43.
The Year 8–9 transition also represents a time of significant, deeper-level change and can be unsettling for Pasifika students.

 “The biggest danger period’ for students in terms of an increased tendency to be more negative about school, their relationships with teachers, and teaching and learning in general was in the second half of Year 9, and not in the first few weeks following the transition."
A Study of Students’ Transition from Primary to Secondary Schooling, Research Division [Ministry of Education] 2008.

Acknowledgment:

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

  • “What is known to be effective, however, is not always what is practised” (Summary, Best Evidence Synthesis, Teacher Professional Learning and Development). Is this true of your school in relation to managing transitions for your Pasifika learners? How do you know?

"The coherence between teachers appears to be especially significant so that there is consistency in pedagogical approaches as well as in focus and goals.” 
Ua Aoina le Manogi o le Lolo: Pasifika Schooling Improvement Research– Final Report executive summary.
 
Would you say that you had this kind of coherence in your school? How do you know?

  • What practices does your school put in place to ensure effective transitions? How well do these work for your Pasifika students and their ongoing learning?
  • When you receive Pasifika students who are achieving at levels below the national norm, how do you go about accelerating their learning? How successful are your programmes?

Transcript

Glen Ryan
When our children come in at 5 years old, generally it all is our data saying that they are probably 2 years behind where we think they should be at 5. All those curriculum areas struggle to begin with. And I guess we find that we bring them up but they’re still coming in lower.

Glen Ryan
Transition from year 8 to year 9 it’s been a learning curve for us and probably last year we learnt the most. When we did a review of the school, instead of just reviewing the parents and the pupils that are here, and the board and the teachers, we had former pupils come in and I thought that was really brilliant. It worked really well at the end; we had the former pupils talk about their experience here, and their new experience at their high school and how they related. What things we did well, what things we need to change to help prepare them. So by talking to the former pupils we got the information that we needed. Science was a big one, so there's a big transition between intermediate science and high school science. We now need to go back and review what we’re doing there.

Patrick Drumm
Our greatest need here is literacy. It’s a base need for our students they are coming into our school at the bottom end of literacy statistics with PAT tests and asTTle. And that's a huge need and we’re attempting to accelerate them through that process and greater alignment with our feeder schools is critical in this, and we do spend time working with our feeder schools to make sure that we can share data about the benchmarks for students when they come in.

Lynne van Etten 
For our students coming into our school we test the students at the end of year 8, we actually mark the asTTle assessments for the school and enter the data. And that’s been reaffirming for the intermediates as well, because we can then go back to them and say fantastic this year, your literacy results have been markedly improved since the year before.

Nola Dougall
There'll be quite a number of students that come in at level 2 of the curriculum for literacy and numeracy. And we need to take that and build on that to level 6 by the time they get to year 11. The part of our focus in the junior school is focus on literacy and on numeracy. So that the junior students have more, they have language support, English language support. And that continues to year 11, whereas we'll have a class of what we call double English so they’ll have two blocks of their timetable in English. Because if they can't communicate, if they’re not literate, then they can't handle other areas of the curriculum.

Collaborative learning

Pasifika students benefit from working in collaborative ways with their peers in the classroom.

 

Key content

Collaborative learning processes help Pasifika students to learn and achieve. The teacher deliberately shapes a peer culture that maintains a clear focus on learning. When they work collaboratively, Pasifika students have a secure and supportive base that enables them to take risks and be critical and engaged. They share their knowledge with greater confidence, appreciate the views of others, develop their inquiry learning skills and feel supported in their learning. They do not always have to rely on the teacher for guidance.

“A skilled teacher optimises task sequences, not only to directly facilitate the different stages of learning cycles for individual students, but also to build up a peer learning culture that can intensify the challenges and supports for learning." 
Quality Teaching for Diverse Students in Schooling: Best Evidence Synthesis, page 91

Acknowledgment:

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

  • What seating arrangements do you have in your classroom? How do these support the learning of your Pasifika students? Are there other seating arrangements you could use? For what purpose?
  • Would you describe the culture of your classroom as a ‘peer learning culture’? If not, would you consider making changes to develop such a culture to assist your Pasifika students? How would you go about this?
  • What forms of support do you offer your Pasifika students when you set tasks for their learning? Are these helpful? Could they be improved? If so, in what ways?

“Peer cultures and sub-cultures can provide social and material resources supporting and enabling individual students in their interaction with curriculum content, or they can function to hamper, exclude, isolate and humiliate individual students.”

Quality Teaching for Diverse Students in Schooling: Best Evidence Synthesis, page 34

  • In the light of this quotation, how would you describe the peer culture in your school and in your class in relation to your Pasifika students? Do you believe it needs to become more positive? If so, what steps would you take to make this happen?

Transcript

Anu Patel
What I've found is if you can start with a cooperative atmosphere in the classroom where the students have a structure, that they know what they are there for, they know why you’re there as well, they relate to you better and they seem to work better as a result of that. And I think along with that goes the fact that they've got to learn to have a cooperative nature with each other because I've found that when students don't gel with each other it tends to obviously disrupt the classroom. 

Kuini – student
I prefer group work, it’s because everyone has their own point of view so everyone has different views in different things. So like gathering the views of everyone else into group work it gives you more knowledge, it makes you wiser.

Anne Dyer
The students understand very well, it’s just that a lot of time they don't have the vocabulary to express their ideas clearly. But when you get them into small groups it's amazing what they speak about and what they share with others. And with the cooperative learning you can just walk around and stand and listen to the students, and you think, oh my goodness, they really do understand these things, but it’s just that when you're standing up in front and doing all the talking and just getting a few students to put their hands up you won’t get that same kind of sharing in the classroom and you won't learn that same knowledge from the students. And it’s about getting everyone engaged. You can't opt out of cooperative learning, you have to participate. That’s the great thing about it. And the cooperative learning is also about respecting others, and listening to other people. It allows you also to get students of different cultures to sit together and mix them up.

David – student
Sometimes students learn off other students, because some students find it hard understanding the teacher, because they are like, they teach too hard or something, and some students they understand and can help their students that are not understanding.

Lucy Wymer
We've found that cooperative learning has been really successful in our school over recent years. So instead of the students always relying on the teacher for support they’re looking now to other students to help them. And of course if you've got a class of thirty, the teacher can't always, relate to all thirty students in a lesson.

Faiga – student
I like to do it together as a class. I don't really like doing it by myself, cause I like working with my friends.

Authentic learning contexts

Imeleta Faumuina, HoD English Tangaroa College, discusses the importance of providing authentic learning contexts to support meaningful student engagement.

 

Transcript

My name is Imeleta Faumuina and I am head of English at Tangaroa College, which is in South Auckland. My role as head of English, it’s my responsibility to make sure that you know we impact the curriculum, for, not just for the students but for my teachers as well. I have about eight to nine teachers in my department and we have some teachers that are very experienced, and we also have new teachers.

So my job is to make sure that I now you know what the ministry expects and also what the curriculum expects of our department and in terms of our Pasifika students, the majority of our students are Pasifika. I’d say probably about 80% or even higher would be Pasifika and for our students we try our best to cater for their needs. And for a lot of us I am very thankful that we have a lot of teachers in our department that are from Otara.

Myself I was born in Samoa but we came here when I was two, and we shifted to Otara in 1974. So I’m from, that’s my community, I know how the needs our students have and what our parents expect so we do work with a lot of agencies and with a lot of English curriculum specialists to try to make sure we provide a curriculum that’s interesting and engaging for our students and at the same time try to expose them to you know, traditional literature. So we don’t try to shy away from like Shakespeare, and challenging texts that people might think that our students can’t cope with, but our Pasifika students can. We have got examples of students who have arrived at our school with a 2p writing for Astle, and vocabulary of 2000 and less. And fortunately these students have got supportive parents and they follow what we tell them, you know like “Read, read every night for twenty minutes, do your homework, come to school every day.”

Those are the key ingredients of these students who came with a 2p and they get to year 13 and they get excellence for Level 3 external for English. Which, I’ve seen where there are some students they might be very capable, but they go to a higher decile school but they are put down into like a lower level or band, stream, and they’re not given the chance to sit externals, whereas our students if they were at those schools they wouldn’t be given that opportunity so we try and expose them to the richness of the English language and the literature and just because they are Pasifika doesn’t mean they can’t engage with those tests, because you know the themes, the themes are universal, so we’ve had a lot of success with those because of that.

Ah yea, I usually don’t go into Pasifika text, but what I do spend time on is giving them a bit of the history of the English language, making them not afraid, like telling them that Shakespearean English is not old English it’s modern English and they are really surprised by that and YouTube is really is a great resource, because I am able to show them examples of old English and middle English and they’re like fascinated, and they think like wow, if it’s modern English you know why should I be afraid. If Shakespeare is speaking the language that I speak, it’s just some words have become obsolete. So it’s like dispelling those fears makes a huge difference.

So last year it was the first time I did a Polynesian, a Samoan writer’s novel instead of a Shakespeare text, and I was really surprised, a lot of my students they didn’t like it. They said, we don’t ever want to study this text anymore. They found that the main character was not Polynesian, they felt that he was not thinking and relating to others in the way that they would. So they did not do that great with this text, when I compare it to the results I got off my Shakespeare with Othello, huge difference! So I’m going to put that away and I’m going to go back to what I love. But I enjoyed teaching that text and I loved talking about you know, where we came from, the struggles we’ve had with colonialism, how we’ve changed as a people. Because there’s a lot of people who are teachers who don’t really know about Pasifika kids, they have these misconceptions about Pasifika people, and it really hurts me.

I’ve cried my eyes out when I talk to people who say we shouldn’t teach literature to these kids, we should just teach them grammar, how to write a sentence. And it just breaks my heart because it’s telling me that we’re not capable, but we’re very capable. And when people say to me, oh your language it’s not complex, and oh, and Polynesian people are not used to education, because we haven’t had it in our history, and I say to them, no you’re wrong, you know, we our language is quite complicated. When my dad speaks in his matai language, I can’t quite understand it. Even with my, you know, I have a degree in English but I cannot understand what my dad speaks, because there is a whole lot of history behind a lot of the proverbs that they use in their matai language, and it’s actually a very rich culture, a very rich language. Even though it’s not written down, you know the fact that it’s stored in our brains, clearly shows that we have the cognitive capacity to absorb anything, if we have the confidence. And if you don’t give the kids the confidence, to attack any kind of literature you give them and you don’t give them the tools cause you don’t prepare, you think oh I’m wasting my time, they know it. They respond and they won’t come to the party.

For me the Plan it’s all about getting success. That Pasifika children will experience the same successes as Asian and Pakeha students. So you know, I’ve read the Plan and we’ve had some workshops at school. So people are very aware, and I think teaching at Tangaroa college, we’ve always been aware of the strategies that work. And I think one of the key things is making those connections with the parents and we’re thinking a lot more about how we can get the parents involved. So last year we had, well not just parents but also people in the community, we have a rich resource, and last year we had what we call a Pasifika Profile Day and we had about eight guest speakers that came in and spoke to our year 10 students.

They talked about their life experiences, what helped them to be successful.  So people like Sandra Kailahi, one of our ex-students is a doing quite well on television at the moment, Beulah Koale and we’ve also got a student who’s about to graduate from university, from law school. And a student who’s also with the Warriors, as well as the curator for our little art gallery in Otara. So they went around and spoke to the students, the year 10’s and the purpose of it was for the students to be able to record what they listened to, ask questions, and then they write a profile piece, based on what they heard. They chose a personality, and they wrote an article style piece, so we try to make it authentic.

And instead of saying I’ll research it, they do get a chances to research, but you know, they’ve got real life people there, like a journalist, recording down information and turning it into an article, which then in year 12, they actually have to write  profile on a person of their choice. So this will transfer to like English level to which is like one of our hardest areas, like one of our bugbears getting our kids to reading and writing level two credits. So the Pasifika education plan, so we’re very aware of it, you know, I think the last time I think they had the launch the plan, I think 2008, we didn’t even know about it. So this time around there’s a lot more awareness and a lot more talking with people and also the online community that’s been set up has been really useful.

Learning intentions

When teachers and Pasifika students negotiate the learning intentions, and share clear expectations and knowledge of the outcomes to be achieved, Pasifika students engage more confidently and more purposefully in their learning.

 

Key content

Effective teachers let their Pasifika students ‘into the secret of what they’re teaching’. The explicit sharing of goals and learning intentions provides a clear focus and enables more purposeful learning. They negotiate the learning intentions with their Pasifika students and express these in language that the students understand, so that they know what they are supposed to be doing and why. The mistakes they make are neither a barrier to their achievement nor indicators of their lack of achievement. Mistakes are viewed as part of Pasifika students’ ongoing learning and knowledge-building measured against specific success criteria.

“As a result of the learning process, intentions may well have to be renegotiated or transformed according to the achievements of students. Having flexible  learning intentions allows for learning spontaneity and 'unplanned' learning.”

Acknowledgment:

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.

Lunch for Greedy Cat, reproduced by permission of the publishers Learning Media Ltd and copyright holders, Robyn Belton and Joy Cowley. Copyright © 2000, All rights reserved.

Things to think about

  • Do you think that your Pasifika students understand what you want them to achieve in each lesson? Are there ways that you could help them to understand the learning intentions more clearly? How?
  • What do you do to make the learning intentions explicit for your Pasifika students? Do you do this for all your students? Does this process work as you want it to? If not, why not? What could you do better?
  • Do your Pasifika students have access to the success criteria as well as the learning intentions? If so, what difference does this make to their motivation, engagement and achievement patterns? If not, do you think that they would benefit from access to these?
  • Have you ever visited another teacher’s classroom where that teacher has evidence that they have improved the achievement in their Pasifika learners? Would such a visit help you to critically reflect on your own practice with your Pasifika students? What would you look for in particular?

Transcript

Liz Crisp
I believe in letting Pasifika kids into the secret of what they’re learning so that it isn't a secret any more. We are going to learn how to write a sentence. To do that we're going to need to put a capital letter at the beginning and a full stop at the end. We are going to write words. If you tell them what they’re going to learn it makes it much easier for them, and I think that's particularly effective.

Actuality – Liz with students

Shyamala Papa
Even at that young age, even a 5 year old, we try to make the learning as explicit as we can, so we share learning intentions in the classroom. We use lots of different examples. So I will say ‘oh you have to know 7 and 3 make 10 so that later on when you're joining groups you have to use that knowledge’. They’re quite capable of taking in learning intentions.

Actuality – Syamala with students

Victoria – student
If we are stuck on something we can just go straight to the learning intention and just use the main idea for us to know what we’re doing.

Jan Bills 
For the children, I think they’re much more purposeful in their learning. When they can discuss their learning and the reason why they’re doing it they feel far more, it’s meaningful for them. I think for a long time things were done to children not with them. And I think now that they feel that their teacher is there to help them and support them and work with them.

Don Biltcliffe
Every time we sit down with a learning intention we always refer back to where did these learning intentions come from. And sometimes it almost feels like you’re cheating. It almost feels like you’re just giving them this information. But saying it once is not enough to embed it in a child’s mind. Repeating it again and again they start to believe it, they start to see the connections, they start to understand how things fit together in their learning.

Actuality – reading Greedy Cat

Jan Bills
I think they know when they make mistakes, they can acknowledge their mistakes, they can learn from their mistakes. That’s an interesting one for some children to get a hold of. But generally speaking once they understand that they see that it all adds up to being a successful learner really.

Lisa - student
At our school mistakes you can learn from it. Like mistakes can be bad, mistakes can be good, but teachers are here to help you learn from your mistakes and just to keep carrying on. Don’t fall for those mistakes.

Cross-curricula and personalised learning

An Auckland Girls Grammar School Samoan language teacher uses the context of Samoan Independence Day for her Year 12 Samoan language class in consultation with the Year 12 History class. This cross-curricular or thematic approach with the same topic means that Pasifika students are able to access this learning in different curriculum areas.

 

Transcript

One of the topics In Samoan language at the senior level, is the history of Samoa, and I believe this is also being studied in level two history. So that some of the students taking Samoan and history are also able to draw on their learning and their understanding and I’ve spoken to the teacher of the subject and that we’ve found has been really beneficial not just for those students but for other students in the class who are able to gain more information or knowledge from the students who are taking Samoan language.

Throughout the year we try to incorporate different things, of course with every subject with Samoan language there is a main event which is Samoan’s Independence Day. But it’s also an event where student organise the event, they invite other schools, other students of Samoan language to attend to celebrate together. But it coincides with Samoan language week, so then students who are studying Samoan language at the school are able to all in one day practice and use Samoan language.

So an event like this becomes not only a chance for students so enjoy and celebrate a historical and significant event, but also it allows students to take control and autonomy of something that they can organise and something that they actually enjoy and a lot of the language, a lot of the activities they use we can also submit as part of their assessments that they have. And it’s really great to hear students feedback after the Samoan independence day in terms of how they felt they organised the day, how they felt students responded and enjoyed the day or not and so this is another great learning opportunity for our students.

For the younger students, the junior students coming up, they know that the year 13 organises programs so they sort of are able to be inspired or are watching or observing how other students run the program and they are looking forward to their time when they get up to that level for them to actually take that control of that the program. So it’s those kind of event that were fortunate enough to utilise and for our students to enjoy the language even more.

One of the internal assessments is where we have to use AFL as a way to show off our leadership. So they say that one of my identifiers is leadership and commitment to excellence. We’re taking the sessions, so the teachers will be there, but it’s mainly on us to conduct how the whole day goes off. Commitment to excellence is also shown by us taking up the role and us having the courage to lead and help the little kids and a few lessons about how to play AFL.

Maybe when they’re older they might pick it up and to show them that there’s other things apart outside from school that they can enjoy. Some aspects are interacting you know communicating with the little kids it’s so fun.  Their attitude and the atmosphere, it’s quite easy connecting with the little kids, cause they don’t think too much, and they’re so well mannered, it helps a lot to be able to connect with them and relate to them.  There are some lessons that will be taught.

Language enhancing the achievement of Pasifika |  Pasifika Education Plan |  Effective teaching for Pasifika students – Working with students |  Effective teaching for Pasifika students – Stories |  Pasifika and e-Learning |  Pasifika giftedness |  Engaging with Pasifika parents, families, and communities


Footer: