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Effective teaching for Pacific students

Kia orana. Fakaalofa lahi atu. Mālō e lelei.Tālofa lava. Talofa ni.

Effective teaching for Pacific students begins with the learner.

Recognise that family, community, culture, and collaboration are the essence of Pacific learners. Understand the need for solid, reciprocally respectful student-teacher relationships.

These practices motivate and are responsive to Pacific learners.

Show students respect by correctly pronouncing and spelling their names. Pacific students’ names are part of their identity and many students are given names of honour or named after important people in their lives ( Education Gazette, 2020).

Build connections

Strong home-school connections are a key attribute of effective schools. Bridge the gap between home and school. Involve and value parents in ways that impact on Pacific students’ motivation and academic achievement. Show parents and families their culture is valued. 

  • Involve them in running cross-cultural events such as Pacific language week activities or Polyfest preparation. 
  • Invite them into school to learn how to use the technology their children are using. 

Pacific students often respond positively to teachers who take time to get to know them and make an effort to find out their interests. Pacific learners value relationships and often believe that if they can relate to the teacher, they can relate to the learning.

Effective schools have processes of inquiry that are linked across all school systems and practices. These work together to focus on raising Pacific students’ achievement.

Set high expectations

Effective teachers set high expectations and academic challenges. Provide Pacific learners with the kinds of support they need to take risks, think critically, and engage fully.

Let Pacific students know you have high expectations for them. Tell them they’re going to do well, and keep reinforcing that. Put expectations into practice and provide the supports needed for success.

Help newly arrived Pacific students. Give them the information and support they need to gain knowledge and skills required for local schooling. There is no evidence that having two or more languages is a barrier to success either at primary or secondary level.

Resources to support effective teaching for Pacific students

This section of the site provides links to student-focused information and resources to support effective teaching for Pacific students.

Media Gallery

Explore the media gallery to view a range of videos that illustrate how some schools are effective in addressing the teaching and learning needs of their Pacific students in ways that raise their achievement.


Browse this collection for information and resources.