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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

Should we encourage bilingual Pasifika students to use a Pasifika language as well as English?

Yes, by creating a school context where bilingualism and Pasifika languages are highly valued in all learning contexts (not just for social and cultural purposes). 

How can we work with parents on bilingual Pasifika students' language development?

You can make sure parents know about the advantages for their children of growing up fully bilingual.

You can establish good links with Pasifika families and communities and establish regular dialogues about values and goals in relation to learning and language, and about curriculum objectives.  

What if teachers don't speak their students' Pasifika languages?

There are still many ways mainstream teachers can foster students' Pasifika languages even if they don't speak those languages themselves. Most of the LEAP inquiries have some suggestions for how you might do this.

  • You can draw on the help of other people who do speak Pasifika languages.
  • You can help the students to use and develop their Pasifika languages themselves.
  • You can talk to other people about the benefits for your students of being bilingual, and biliterate, and support and encourage greater use and teaching of Pasifika languages. 

How do we motivate Pasifika students?

Motivation results from learning as well as contributing to it. Students who have success in learning are motivated to learn more. In that sense, all the LEAP inquiries address motivation through exploring various ways of helping Pasifika students to learn well. 

Can we learn anything from Māori-medium education models?

Yes, there is a lot to be learned from the Māori-medium education experience. Kohanga reo and kura kaupapa Māori have explored many issues relevant to bilingual Pasifika students' learning and maintaining their Pasifika languages in a predominantly monolingual English speaking environment.


How can we develop bilingual Pasifika students' academic language?

There are two important aspects to developing bilingual Pasifika students' academic language.

  • Make sure that the Pasifika language of bilingual students can play its key role in supporting language development in both languages.
  • Pay focused and planned attention to the development of academic language.

How can we get more Pasifika-oriented resources?

As a teacher of Pasifika bilingual students, you probably know people (including senior students or former students) who could produce fiction and non-fiction writing, artwork and photography, and music, in Pasifika languages, and/or with a Pasifika theme for schools.

Down the Back of the Chair is the Ministry of Education's catalogue of teaching and learning resources for schools. You could contact the Pasifika team at the Ministry of Education for how to contribute materials for publication. This would be a good focus for a collaborative project with your local Pasifika communities.