Welcome to Inclusive Education.


Supporting Pasifika students

http://inclusive.tki.org.nz/guides/supporting-pasifika-students/

Pasifika communities are diverse – ethnically, generationally, economically, and in their language use. Understanding this diversity is a crucial step in engaging Pasifika students and their communities. The Pasifika Education Plan puts Pasifika learners, their parents, families, and communities at the centre of education decisions.

This guide focuses on inclusive teaching and learning strategies that can be used in the classroom to create a more effective learning environment for all Pasifika students. Strengthening the self-identity and self-esteem of students who may need additional support to learn is a central theme.

In the guide we have used the term “family". This is inclusive of Aiga (Samoa), Matavuvale (Fiji), Magafaoa (Niue), Kàiga (Tokelau), Kàinga (Tonga), Ngutuare Tangata (Cook Island), and Kaaiga (Tuvalu).

Exploring Pasifika cultural perspectives on inclusion, learning support, and disability

To provide effective learning environments for Pasifika students who need additional support, develop an understanding of the different perspectives and values held by Pasifika families in your community.

Pacific parents believed it was important that school staff, particularly teachers, had some understanding about working with Pacific families. Where teachers had an understanding of the different Pacific ethnicities and values it was easier for Pacific parents to develop relationships with the school.

Source: Partners in Learning: Parents' Voices (September 2008)

Suggestions and resources

Differing perspectives of inclusion

Parents and family may have different perspectives on disability, inclusion, and accessing learning support for their children.

Take time to understand:

  • values and beliefs about disability and inclusion
  • personal experiences of learning
  • hopes and dreams for their child
  • fears and anxieties
  • expectations around support for learning.

 

Source: Adapted from Understanding special education from the perspectives of Pasifika families

Differing perspectives of inclusion
Understanding Pasifika contexts (NZ) (video)
The different worlds students move between

Many Pasifika students balance a range of roles and responsibilities connected to church, sports, or social groups alongside their school work. Expectations of how to interact with adults may also differ between home and school.

View transcript

Source: Pasifika Education Community (NZ)

Understanding Pasifika contexts (NZ)
Involving communities in schooling (NZ) (video)
Engaging with Pasifika parents

This video explores the viewpoints of students, teachers, and parents on the involvement of parents and communities in schooling.

View transcript

Source: Pasifika Education Community (NZ)

Involving communities in schooling (NZ)
Building partnerships

We are true partners when:

  1. you listen to what I have to say

  2. you acknowledge my intelligence

  3. you want to learn more about my ways

  4. you don’t judge me

  5. you engage me in genuine dialogue

  6. we make decisions together

  7. you show that my child matters to you

  8. you include my experience, knowledge, and viewpoints with yours. 

Source: Partners in learning: Parents voices 2008 (p 123)

Building partnerships

Resources and downloads

Partners in Learning: Parents' Voices (September 2008)

This ERO report outlines Pasifika parents viewpoints on education and on schools.

Family/whānau file

A booklet published by the Ministry of Education to help parents of students with additional needs to brief their child’s school.

Understanding special education from the perspectives of Pasifika families

This report identifies: the strengths of current service provision, barriers to accessing special education services for Pasifika students; and the extent to which cultural perspectives on disability and special education and the low numbers of Pasifika professionals affect engagement and satisfaction with special education services for Pasifika families.

The family book: Te pukapuka o nga whānau

An introduction to services and supports for families and whānau of children who are hard of hearing.

Pasifika Education Plan (image)
PEP compass
Improving Pasifika education outcomes

The Pasifika Education Plan 2013–2017  puts Pasifika learners, their parents, families and communities at the centre of all activities.

It sets out the Government’s strategic direction for improving Pasifika educational outcomes over the next five years.  

Source: Ministry of Education

Pasifika Education Plan
Valuing culture and partnership

Consider the concerns that some Pasifika parents have about effective communication with schools

Parents expect teachers to be proactive in developing relationships with them and in learning about their cultural backgrounds.

They like to be valued for the contribution they can make to their children’s learning and the school.

Source: Partners in learning: Schools’ engagement with parents, whānau, and communities in New Zealand (May 2008)

Valuing culture and partnership
Parents’ voices

 

Parents of children with special needs found that some schools were not open to working with them, and they felt that they were unwelcome. They struggled with entrenched attitudes by some school staff about their child and his or her learning or behavioural needs. For some parents, labelling their child and themselves, sometimes linked to previous family history with the school, undermined the development of constructive relationships.

Source: Partners in Learning: Parents' Voices (September 2008)
Parents’ voices
Power Up for Success initiative (image)
Pasifika power up
Involving students and parents

The Power Up for Success initiative provides an eight-week study programme for Pasifika students who are studying for NCEA and their parents.

Source: Pasifika Power Up

Power Up for Success initiative
Support career pathways (NZ) (video)
Aligning subject choice to future pathways

Natalie Faitala, Head of English at Wesley College, talks about the importance of supporting and guiding Pasifika students in their subject choice.

View transcript

Source: EDtalks

Support career pathways (NZ)

Resources and downloads

Understanding special education from the perspectives of Pasifika families

This report identifies: the strengths of current service provision, barriers to accessing special education services for Pasifika students; and the extent to which cultural perspectives on disability and special education and the low numbers of Pasifika professionals affect engagement and satisfaction with special education services for Pasifika families.

Partners in Learning: Parents' Voices (September 2008)

This ERO report outlines Pasifika parents viewpoints on education and on schools.

Partners in learning: Good practice (September 2008) – Successful engagement: good practice

This evaluation report from ERO identifies key factors that contribute to the success of engagement with parents, whānau, and the wider community.

Effective governance: Supporting Pasifika success

These guidelines support BOTs to implement the Pasifika Education Plan. They include information about how to engage with Pasifika students and families.

"Talking disabilities" from a Pacific perspective

This book explores how concepts of identity, gender, power, cultural and religious practices, socioeconomic issues, and the concept of disability are woven together to provide a Pacific perspective of disability.

National mentoring service for Māori and Pasifika students

Details of the National Mentoring Service (a community-based initiative) supported by the Ministry of Education. It's aimed at supporting young Māori and Pasifika students, in a culturally responsive way, to successfully achieve NCEA.

Improving education outcomes for Pacific Learners

A summary of ERO’s report for schools, families and the wider community. The leaflet provides a snapshot of what was found, as well as highlighting the key elements for improving Pacific student engagement.

Improving education outcomes for Pacific Learners – Full report

ERO’s full report for schools, families and the wider community highlighting the key elements for improving Pacific student engagement. How schools engage with Pacific learners and act to improve their achievement outcomes.

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Knowing your Pasifika students and their contexts

Demonstrate care by continually investing in getting to know your students and what's important to them. Make connections to their experiences and contexts to support learning and strengthen relationships. 

What makes a good teacher for me is like if they get along with me 'cause I hate it when teachers can't get along with me, because I feel really sad and stuff like that, 'cause they don't know me. 

Source: Pasifika Education Community (NZ)

Closed captioning available in player

Suggestions and resources

Culture and the classroom

O tu, aganu’u, ma agaifanua a le tamaititi o le a le mafai ona ulufale atu I le potuaoga sei vagana ua fa’atauaina ma faaulufaleina muamua I le loto ma le agaga o le faiaoga.

The culture of the child cannot enter the classroom until it has first entered the consciousness of the teacher.

Samoan saying ;
Culture and the classroom
Making informed connections (NZ) (video)
Understanding cultural contexts

Find out where your Pasifika students were born, the cultures they connect with, and the languages they speak and hear in their families.

Use this knowledge to connect experiences to learning.

View transcript

Source: Pasifika Education Community (NZ)

Making informed connections (NZ)
Valuing participation in cultural events (image)
Polyfest Flickr
Celebrating Pasifika holidays and festivals

Value and support opportunities, such as participation in Polyfest, where students can experience high levels success as Pasifika peoples.

Recognise and celebrate holidays and festivals that are important to your Pasifika students in your school and classroom.

Source: Richard Sihamau

Valuing participation in cultural events
Building learning relationships (NZ) (video)
21st century Pasifika learners

Anthony Faitaua advocates creating a safe environment, understanding the students’ culture and values, and working with key influential community members in order to build these vital learning relationships.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: EDtalks

Building learning relationships (NZ)
Self review questions

Effective connection between home and school

Use these review question to guide your thinking about Pacific learner achievement at your school

  1. What do you know about the language, culture and identify of your Pacific learners and their families?

  2. What do you know about the presence, engagement, progress and achievement of your Pacific learners and do you share this information with families?

  3. How do you involve Pacific families in planning, monitoring progress and achievement.

  4. How do you review your practices and challenge your own assumptions about partnerships with Pacific learners and their families?

Source: Improving education outcome for Pacific Learners

Self review questions

Resources and downloads

Introducing culture by Arizona Leger – Fijian / Samoan / Tongan / Māori

This is a video clip (1 of 8) of poetry performances entitled Urbanlife 2012: Navigating Spaces at the Auckland Museum. Watch Polynesian youth perform poetry to navigate their way through Auckland's urban culture.

Engaging Pasifika learners: Introduction

Part of a video explaining key considerations for knowing your Pasifika learner.

Language enhancing the achievement of Pasifika

The LEAP resource aims to bring together all the factors that can support bilingual Pasifika students’ learning. It suggests ways in which teachers can explore, in practical ways, language teaching and learning principles that can help them work more effectively with bilingual Pasifika students.

Improving education outcomes for Pacific Learners

A summary of ERO’s report for schools, families and the wider community. The leaflet provides a snapshot of what was found, as well as highlighting the key elements for improving Pacific student engagement.

Improving education outcomes for Pacific Learners – Full report

ERO’s full report for schools, families and the wider community highlighting the key elements for improving Pacific student engagement. How schools engage with Pacific learners and act to improve their achievement outcomes.

Sample learner profile (image)
Learner profile
Who am I?

A learner profile can be created in any format including:

  • a document with photos
  • a slide presentation with a series of pictures
  • a video
  • a blog

Source: Ministry of Education

Sample learner profile
Benefits of learner profiles for teachers

It’s useful to develop profiles of all your students and to use these as the basis of a class profile.

  1. A learner profile tells teachers about students.

  2. It sits alongside assessment data.

  3. It helps school staff to build relationships with students and to understand things from a student perspective.

  4. It can inform planning, classroom layout, timetabling, and supports to enable students to participate and contribute in all classroom learning.

Benefits of learner profiles for teachers
Benefits of learner profiles for students

Developing a learner profile means your students can:

  1. express who they are

  2. address assumptions

  3. express their aspirations and passions

  4. have a say in what goes on for them.

Benefits of learner profiles for students
What to include in a learner profile

The purpose of a learner profile can be agreed by the student, their whānau, and the teacher. A useful profile could include:

  1. important people

  2. cultural practices (language, customs, traditions)

  3. cultural connections and experiences

  4. languages spoken

  5. things the student is good at

  6. memorable life experiences

  7. how they like to unwind and relax.

  8. likes and interests

  9. dislikes and things they avoid

  10. how they like to learn and what helps

  11. things that make it hard for them

  12. what they do when they need help.

What to include in a learner profile
Approaches to gathering information

Create a learner profile

Having students create a learner profile for themselves is a great way to have them develop a fuller understanding of who they are as learners.

In creating their profiles, students can reflect on what motivates and challenges them when learning. This develops their independence and places them in a better position to self-advocate for the tools, learning materials, and presentation options that can optimise their learning experiences.

Watch the video on the Student profiles page, where teachers describe how they ask students questions to inform their planning.

Note, senior students may just prefer to have a conversation. 

Source: UDL supporting diversity in BC schools (Canada)

Approaches to gathering information

Resources and downloads

Developing learner profiles

This document provides general support and guidance when developing a learner profile. It includes prompts and questions, along side purpose and benefits for students.

Rachel's learner profile (NZ high school)

An example of a secondary student’s learner profile.

Laiza’s transition

An example of a primary school student’s learner profile, developed by the adults around her.

Student profiles

A resource from UDL British Columbia Schools providing information to support developing student profiles. It contains a video with teachers sharing strategies they use to get to know their students each year.

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Establishing reciprocal relationships with parents and families to support learning

Develop positive relationships with the community of people who know the student. Learning partnerships strengthen everyone’s involvement in the Pasifika student’s education and encourage shared roles to support learning and well-being.

Source: Adapted from ERO’s Partners in Learning: Parent voices

A fia vave oo lou va’a, alo na o ‘oe, ae a fia tuli mamao

le taunu’uga tatou ‘alo’alo faatasi.

If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.

Samoan proverb

Suggestions and resources

Home-school partnerships (NZ) (video)
Developing a productive partnership

Build a home-school partnership that has a clear focus on students’ learning, where everyone can make positive and active contributions to benefit Pasifika learners.

View transcript

Source: Pasifika Education Community (NZ)

Home-school partnerships (NZ)
Setting up positive relationships

When building relationships with Pasifika families, consider your approach and be mindful of the experiences they bring. Identify barriers to engagement and help to break these down. It is important to consider:

  • personal preferences for engagement (for example, face-to-face, group based)
  • suitable timing (for example, time of day, week), acknowledging personal pressures and commitments
  • the background of the person or group and their personal experiences with schooling 
  • the benefit of the event for the people you are engaging with
  • culturally appropriate actions for different situations
  • letting them know about you, as well as learning about who they are.

Source: Effective governance: Supporting Pasifika success

Setting up positive relationships
Supporting conversations about learning
  1. Promote regular face-to-face contact to reinforce strong communication and engagement with parents and families right from the start.

  2. Communicate and share information in a meaningful way, demonstrating understanding and support for parents’ concerns.

  3. Value what parents and caregivers have noticed or assessments they have had done outside school.

  4. Involve parents and family in determining strategies to support the student’s learning and well-being.

  5. Work with any programmes or materials being used at home to maximise consistency and support for the student.

  6. Develop systems for passing on information about a student’s needs, progress, and next steps in ways that are meaningful.

  7. Actively and regularly communicate positive information and achievements to the family. 

Supporting conversations about learning
Understanding diverse perspectives

Where parent and family values, and expectations, differ from those of your school, create opportunities to listen and learn from each other.

  1. Create opportunities to connect Pasifika parents with other Pasifika parents and community leaders to talk about ways to support their children's learning.

  2. Invite parents and families to see inclusive practices in action at your school. Offer opportunities to discuss what they have seen in their first languages.

  3. Invite back to school, Pasifika students who have left, to share their experiences of what kinds of things supported them in their learning.

Understanding diverse perspectives
Engaging outside agencies

Before engaging support for students from outside services and agencies:

  • find out from families whether they are already connected with outside agencies or programmes, or have been in the past, and what their experience of these agencies or programmes was
  • check with colleagues, especially the learning support team, to find out which services and agencies the school already has a relationship with and get some feedback on the effectiveness of the partnerships
  • research possible options for support, so that you can make an informed contribution to discussions
  • outline other possible options for support when you are discussing the specific needs of a student with their family.
Engaging outside agencies

Resources and downloads

Improving education outcomes for Pacific Learners – Full report

ERO’s full report for schools, families and the wider community highlighting the key elements for improving Pacific student engagement. How schools engage with Pacific learners and act to improve their achievement outcomes.

Talanoa tips with pasifika learners

A Core blog post that discusses what Pasifika success, Pasifika aspirations, Pasifika presence, Pasifika engagement, and Pasifika achievement look like in your school or field of work.

Welcoming parents

This video includes practical suggestions for engaging Pasifika parents in the school community.

Improving education outcomes for Pacific Learners

A summary of ERO’s report for schools, families and the wider community. The leaflet provides a snapshot of what was found, as well as highlighting the key elements for improving Pacific student engagement.

Planning inclusive meetings

 

  1. Face-to-face communication is an important part of personalising engagement.

  2. Parents may not be confident speaking English. Find out whether you will need an interpreter or community liaison person before meeting.

  3. Create a welcoming environment, offer food and refreshments.

  4. Ask for the correct pronunciation of names when first meeting.

  5. Consider how to show respect to parents and family, for example, by dressing conservatively.

  6. Hold meetings in Pacific community venues where possible to make it easier for those parents who find the school environment challenging.

  7. Choose a suitable time for meetings. Some parents have work commitments in the afternoons and evenings.

  8. Identify a staff member as a key liaison person for Pasifika families. Having a senior teacher (particularly in secondary schools) responsible for improving educational outcomes for Pasifika students indicates that their children’s learning is seen as a priority.

Source: Partners in learning: Parents’ voices (September 2008)

Planning inclusive meetings
Removing barriers (NZ) (video)
Including parents at Sylvia Park School

Meet with families at 'times that suit them, where it suits them'.

If possible have someone at the office who can speak Pacific languages, and a space for children to play while parents meet with teachers.

View transcript

Source: Pasifika Education Community (NZ)

Removing barriers (NZ)
Understanding parent expectations (NZ) (video)
Developing realistic expectations

Talk with parents about their expectations for their child.

Use honest and straightforward langauge to talk about achievement, both areas of success and areas to strengthen.

Invite parents to school to share in celebrations of their child's success.

View transcript

Source: Pasifika Education Community (NZ)

Understanding parent expectations (NZ)
Reporting on progress

Pacific parents expect honest reporting about their child’s progress and achievement

  • Use honest and straightforward langauge to talk about achievement, both areas of success and areas to strengthen.
  • Discuss with families ways they can support their child in their learning at home.
  • Invite Pasifika parents and families into school to see how learning is supported in the classroom.
  • Contact parents sooner rather than later when concerns or issues arise regarding their children’s education or well-being.
  • Regularly contact parents to share their children’s achievements.
  • Inform parents about celebrations of their children’s achievement, especially when their children are receiving awards or certificates at assembly.
Reporting on progress
Value parents' knowledge (video)
Supporting successful transitions (NZ)

Find out what approaches and strategies have worked well for their children in their previous class, school, or educational setting.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Ministry of Education, inclusive education videos (NZ)

Value parents' knowledge

Resources and downloads

Welcoming parents

This video includes practical suggestions for engaging Pasifika parents in the school community.

What Pasifika parents want

Pasifika parents want:

  1. to be contacted more often about their child’s positive achievements

  2. to be informed about celebrations of their child’s achievement, especially when their child was receiving an award or certificate at assembly

  3. honest reporting about their child’s progress and achievement

  4. to be contacted sooner rather than later when concerns or issues arose regarding their children’s education or well-being

  5. to have a homework centre at their child’s school, to build confidence in helping their child with learning

  6. Information meetings, for example meetings about NCEA

  7. an appropriate staff member as a key contact or liaison person for Pacific families

  8. a senior manager (particularly in secondary schools) responsible for improving educational outcomes for Pacific students

  9. school staff, particularly teachers, with some understanding about working with Pacific families

  10. meetings for groups of parents based on their ethnicity.

Source: Partners in learning: Parents’ voices (September 2008)

What Pasifika parents want
Home-school contact

Establish regular, two-way contact between home and school, focused on sharing students’ successes

Parents suggested that schools could:

  • improve the timeliness and regularity of feedback and information, especially in relation to children’s presence, participation, learning, and achievement
  • provide regular opportunities for participation and involvement
  • provide information about how to become involved in the school
  • ensure that families feel they are heard, fully involved, and not rushed in meetings, interviews, and conferences
  • report on students’ progress in language and formats that are meaningful to, and can be easily understood by, the student and family.
  • be open and listen to parents’ views
  • find ways for parents and families to lead activities and events, especially for other parents and their children.

Source: Partners in learning: Schools’ engagement with parents, whānau, and communities in New Zealand (May 2008)

Home-school contact
Using technologies to communicate
  1. Leave computers on at the end of the day and invite parents to view students’ digital work.

  2. Find out the types of technology that parents use and offer to share in those mediums.

  3. Consider using multiple channels, such as mobile devices, email, instant messaging services, social media, and the school website, to connect with families.

  4. Provide deliberate support or training to show parents how they can engage with students’ work – both face-to-face and through technology.

  5. Create and promote online spaces such as blogs that invite parents’ participation and feedback.

  6. Establish a site or portal for parents to access and contribute to student learning.

  7. Design e-portfolios to inform future steps in learning.

Using technologies to communicate
Digital portfolios (NZ) (video)
Communicating learning

Digital portfolios, created and maintained by the students, are a vehicle for communicating learning to families.

View transcript

Source: Te Mangōroa (NZ)

Digital portfolios (NZ)
Share meaningful student data

Our parents are really busy and you know they are working, they've got families, they've got all sorts of other commitments. So when we want to talk to them we've got to talk to them about the grunty stuff, the stuff that makes a difference. And we know that the stuff that makes a difference is their children's data, the real information. We know it's rich information, that's often been the domain of the school and now it's time to share it in all its glory.

Barbara Alaalatoa ;
Share meaningful student data

Resources and downloads

Literature review on the effective engagement of Pasifika parents and communities in education

This review explores barriers to Pacific Island parent and community engagement and strategies that can support home-school engagement.

National mentoring service for Māori and Pasifika students

Details of the National Mentoring Service (a community-based initiative) supported by the Ministry of Education. It's aimed at supporting young Māori and Pasifika students, in a culturally responsive way, to successfully achieve NCEA.

Parent meetings, Sylvia Park (NZ) (video)
Finding a suitable location

Mutukaroa project coordinators meet with parents at home, at their work, or at school. They explain assessments, discuss how parents can support their child’s learning, and provide resources for use at home.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Enabling e-Learning (NZ)

Parent meetings, Sylvia Park (NZ)
Supporting learning at home

Strategies to support families to support their children’s learning at home:

  • Meet face-to-face to model particular strategies or make a video to model a particular strategy or approach.
  • Create opportunities where students can draw on the expertise and experience of their family and work together on a project.
  • Maintain a class blog or a weekly email to families, where you share the class focus and encourage them to share resources and ideas.
  • Avoid setting up situations where you are encouraging families to supervise homework. Parents are not always comfortable helping their child with academic studies.
Supporting learning at home
Involving family in school processes (NZ) (video)
Engaging with Pasifika parents

This video explores the viewpoints of students, teachers, and parents on the involvement of parents and communities in schooling.

View transcript

Source: Pasifika Education Community (NZ)

Involving family in school processes (NZ)
Supporting bilingual learning (NZ) (video)
Valuing first language at home

Mele, a Tongan teacher aide, shares her experience of attitudes and beliefs around the value of using and learning first languages at home.

View transcript

Source: Ministry of Education

Supporting bilingual learning (NZ)

Resources and downloads

Mangere East students can’t get enough of “Bobbie” maths

This article looks at an initiative of the Pasifika Success Project where maths is taught in a Pasifika context at Mangere East School.

Information for parents and caregivers of children with special education needs: Support organisations and useful contacts

A list of national organisations that support students with additional needs and their families, compiled by the Ministry of Education.

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Building strong community networks

Effective partnerships between schools and communities can result in better outcomes for students. The better the relationship and engagement, the more positive the impact on students’ learning.

Bring your community into the classroom and take your class out to the community.

Source:  Digiliah Palesoo (NZ) 

No captions or transcript available

Suggestions and resources

Connecting parents with each other (NZ) (video)
Offering families opportunities to share knowledge

Parent, Sharon Beattie shares her knowledge and experiences of what has helped her support her son with low vision in his learning.

No captions or transcript available

Source: BLENNZ (NZ)

Connecting parents with each other (NZ)
Accessible youth space (NZ) (image)
Screen Shot 2016 11 17 at 12.22.03 PM
PHAB Pasifika Team

Visit the PHAB Facebook page. Find out about weekly social experiences for young people. Its purpose is one of integration, inclusion and opportunity.

Source: PHAB

Accessible youth space (NZ)
What to ask parents and family

Connect with the family to understand the strengths and needs of their child

People in the student’s life:

  • parent and family hopes and priorities for them
  • the important people in the student’s life
  • the best methods and times to communicate with the family
  • the professionals working with the family 
  • the questions they have and the support they would like from the school.

Practical elements:

  • the language/s spoken at home
  • students’ medications and allergies
  • the equipment used at home
  • what they do at home to support learning.

Student’s likes and dislikes:

  • their likes, interests, what they’re good at, need help with, and can do independently
  • their dislikes, what can upset them, how they express this, and their calming skills
  • their favourite hobbies, books, songs, sports, TV programmes.
What to ask parents and family
Pasifika Parent Group (video)
Empowering parental ownership

Manu Fa'aea-Semeatu shares the impact that the school Pasifika Parent Group had on creating a sense of ownership and connection for Pasifika families within the school.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: EDtalks

Pasifika Parent Group
Pasifika Autism Support Group (image)
PASG Logo
Understanding community support

Visit the Pasifika Autism Support Group webpage and Facebook page to gain understanding of the Pasifika community supporting children and young people with autism.

Source: Pasifika Autism Support Group

Pasifika Autism Support Group

Resources and downloads

Partners in learning: Schools' engagement with parents, whānau, and communities (May 2008)

This report from the Education Review Office shows that effective partnerships between schools and parents, whānau, and communities can result in better outcomes for students.

Engaging with Pasifika parents, families and communities

Resources and videos in this section of the Pasifika Education Community website focus on engagement with parents, families, and communities.

National mentoring service for Māori and Pasifika students

Details of the National Mentoring Service (a community-based initiative) supported by the Ministry of Education. It's aimed at supporting young Māori and Pasifika students, in a culturally responsive way, to successfully achieve NCEA.

Pacific peoples’ experience of disability

This paper explores Pacific people experiences negotiating the complexities of the disability support system. It covers cultural perspectives, attitudes to disability, and options for support.

Creating dedicated parent spaces (NZ) (video)
Creating spaces for parents to meet

Sylvia Park School created a parents’ centre where parents can meet to talk about their children’s learning and achievement.

View transcript

Source: Pasifika Education Community (NZ)

Creating dedicated parent spaces (NZ)
Inclusive information sharing

Model your commitment to inclusion in the way your school shares information with families and the wider community

  • Use a variety of communication methods, including face-to-face communication, newsletters translated into Pasifika languages, telephone contact, and home-school communication notebooks.
  • Include illustrated success stories about all students.
  • Share ongoing stories of your school's commitment to inclusive practices and next steps.
  • Make materials available in the languages of your school community.
  • Ensure that written material is supported with graphics to support understanding.
  • Clearly explain how parents can connect with teachers and support staff at your school to talk about their child.
  • Offer digital and hard copy materials, so that families can select an access option that works best for them.
  • Extend open invitations for parents to join the school parent and teacher group, and other groups they can belong and contribute to.
Inclusive information sharing
Creating an inclusive environment (NZ) (video)
Meeting the needs of Pasifika families

Consider the needs of all parents. This includes considering group seating arrangements, providing refreshments, and providing translations of written material or translators for discussions.

View transcript

Source: Pasifika Education Community (NZ)

Creating an inclusive environment (NZ)
Supporting engagement in learning (NZ) (video)
Engaging with Pasifika parents

This video explores the viewpoints of students, teachers, and parents on the involvement of parents and communities in schooling.

View transcript

Source: Pasifika Education Community (NZ)

Supporting engagement in learning (NZ)
Pastoral care (NZ) (video)
Strength of home visits

Clint Samaseia, teacher at Southern Cross campus in Mangere East, discusses the pastoral support that Pasifika students need. He shares ways to develop community engagement that enable parents to be involved with their students learning.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: EDtalks

Pastoral care (NZ)

Resources and downloads

Welcoming parents

This video includes practical suggestions for engaging Pasifika parents in the school community.

Partners in learning: Schools' engagement with parents, whānau, and communities (May 2008)

This report from the Education Review Office shows that effective partnerships between schools and parents, whānau, and communities can result in better outcomes for students.

Engaging with Pasifika parents, families and communities

Resources and videos in this section of the Pasifika Education Community website focus on engagement with parents, families, and communities.

Pasifika parent group

Manu Fa'aea-Semeatu, HOD Performing Arts at Rutherford College, discusses her school's website page for Pasifika parents and her ways of engaging Pasifika fanau in senior secondary students’ learning.

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Building an inclusive, culturally responsive classroom environment

Students are more likely to achieve when they see themselves and their culture positively reflected in the subject matter and learning contexts.

Building relationships with Pasifika students. Finding connections will help overcome differences.

Source:  Pasifika Education Community (NZ)

Suggestions and resources

Connecting cultural heritage to learning
  1. Invite students to bring an object from home that they can keep in the class, that best reflects their ethnic identity. This gives them physical space in the classroom for a connection from home. 

  2. As a class, choose some phrases in English that encourage positive learning behaviour. Encourage the students and their families to translate these phrases into Pasifika languages. When Pasifika learners see that their languages have a place in the classroom, they will know that they, too, are valued.

  3. Encourage students to bring a photo from home that represents who they are. Invite students to display these photos in the classroom and add written descriptions to the images.

  4. Learn to pronounce your students’ names correctly with their help. Model the correct pronunciation to the class. Encourage all students to use the correct pronunciation.

Connecting cultural heritage to learning
Building on cultural experiences (NZ) (video)
Relevancy and expectations

Draw on the rich and meaningful cultural experiences of Pasifika students for teaching and learning.

They are a vital ingredient of the whole learning process and can be an integral part of the teaching process. 

View transcript

Source: Pasifika Education Community (NZ)

Building on cultural experiences (NZ)
Valuing and sharing languages (NZ) (video)
Supporting students to succeed

Teachers who value and share the languages Pasifika students bring into the classroom, while deliberately building the students’ English language skills, are supporting them to succeed.

View transcript

Source: Pasifika Education Community (NZ)

Valuing and sharing languages (NZ)
Culturally responsive learning contexts

Creating culturally responsive learning contexts and co-constructing learning enables every student to bring their experiences into the classroom.

  • Provide opportunities for Pasifika students who speak Pacific languages to teach the class some basic vocabulary.
  • Include holidays and festivals that are important to your Pasifika students in learning activities.
  • Establish classroom communication practices that include vocabulary from Pasifika languages or Pasifika cultural forms. For example, to gain attention use clapping sequences from Samoan culture (pati male po).
  • Support Pasifika students to understand new vocabulary or unfamiliar instructions by providing visual cues and translating key words into their home languages.
  • Identify how you can specifically include a Pacific component into curriculum topics.
  • Engage with the Pasifika school community and family to bring their knowledge and expertise into the school.
Culturally responsive learning contexts
Engaging student languages (NZ) (video)
Create bilingual and multilingual opportunities

Rae Siʻilata, lecturer in bi-literacy, urges educators to create opportunities for students to bring their language into the classroom.  

Consider ways to create opportunities for students to learn their own language.

View transcript

Source: The New Zealand Curriculum online

Engaging student languages (NZ)

Resources and downloads

Parents and bilingual learning

This video discusses how recognising the importance of a student’s unique language and culture encourages engagement, well-being, and achievement.

Pasifika dual language books

A series of texts to help new entrant Pasifika children transition to English medium schools. These early reading books come in five Pasifika languages (Gagana Sāmoa, Lea Faka-Tonga, Cook Islands Māori, Gagana Tokelau, and Vagahau Niue) and English.

Language buddies (image)
Students writing a digital story
Peer support

If you have more than one student who speaks a Pasifika language, buddy them up so that they can interpret for each other.

Source: Enabling e-Learning

Language buddies
Buddy systems (NZ) (video)
Older students teaching younger students

Inclusive practices, where teachers deliberately and positively draw on students’ knowledge and value the diversity of student experience, help to lift student achievement.

View transcript

Source: Pasifika Education Community (NZ)

Buddy systems (NZ)
Cultural leadership

O le ala I le pule, o le tautua.
The pathway to leadership is through service.

Source: Samoan proverb
Cultural leadership
Creating leadership opportunities (NZ) (video)
Growing leaders

Encourage students to learn and to grow their leadership potential.

Provide opportunities for students to talk about what they’re doing, feel valued, and feel proud of themselves.

View transcript

Source: Pasifika Education Community (NZ)

Creating leadership opportunities (NZ)

Resources and downloads

Brown Brother: Joshua Iosefo at TEDxEQChCh

17-year-old Joshua Iosefo challenges us to see beyond the barriers we place before us.

Graduate profiles – a vision of future oriented learners

Kia Aroha College uses Te Marautanga for its rationale, principles, attitudes/values, and to develop graduate profiles because it fits with their school philosophy and direction for their Māori and Pasifika students.

Using digital stories (NZ) (video)
Scaffolding the writing process

Kimi Ora Community School teacher, Bridget Harrison shares how they use digital stories to support students with English as a second language.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Enabling e-Learning (NZ)

Using digital stories (NZ)
Language groupings (NZ) (video)
Valuing bilingual skills

Students like being able to work in two languages. It helps them to learn more easily.

Offer students the opportunity to discuss learning in their first language first.

No captions or transcript available

Source: Language enhancing the achievement of Pasifika (NZ)

Language groupings (NZ)
Bilingual benefits (NZ) (video)
Building students knowledge and understanding

Develop a school-wide policy to support the use and development of students' first languages.

Encourage students to use all their languages in the classroom to support each other in understanding new concepts.

No captions or transcript available

Source: Language enhancing the achievement of Pasifika (NZ)

Bilingual benefits (NZ)
Supporting assessment (NZ) (video)
Designing culturally inclusive assessment

In this video Filimanaia Akata Galuvao outlines how culture, background knowledge, and experiences play a vital part in student assessment.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: EDtalks

Supporting assessment (NZ)

Resources and downloads

Pasifika dual language books

A series of texts to help new entrant Pasifika children transition to English medium schools. These early reading books come in five Pasifika languages (Gagana Sāmoa, Lea Faka-Tonga, Cook Islands Māori, Gagana Tokelau, and Vagahau Niue) and English.

Digital stories (NZ) (video)
Bilingual digital stories

Support students’ learning by having them write in their first language and then translate their writing into English.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Enabling e-Learning (NZ)

Digital stories (NZ)
Using netbooks (NZ) (video)
Netbooks support student learning outcomes

Students from the Maniakalani cluster share their stories about using technology to engage in and improve their learning.

No captions or transcript available

Source: murrayjob (NZ)

Using netbooks (NZ)
Useful technologies

When writing, students may need to think of ideas, plan sentences, check grammar, check punctuation, spell words, and organise the structure of the piece. Break these processes into a number of discrete activities that are done one at a time, and remove barriers by using appropriate technologies.  

  • Support students by using speech-to-text so that they can communicate their ideas effectively.
  • Use recording devices to record ideas orally.
  • Use planning tools and mind maps, such as Inspiration, to organise ideas and provide a structure.

Use apps, such as iWordQ to support reading text, word selection, spelling, and grammar.

Useful technologies
Using Google Docs (NZ) (video)
Raising student writing levels

Vimi Chandra explains her teacher inquiry into raising the writing levels of targeted students, using Google docs. 

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Enabling e-Learning (NZ)

Using Google Docs (NZ)

Resources and downloads

Point England School using technology to learn

In this video, a student from Point England School reports on how students use technology to learn, sharing their movies with the wider community.

Universal Design for Learning iPad strategies: Text-to-speech

A video with US educator Kit Hard demonstrating how to introduce text-to-speech to access digital text. No captions or transcript available

Special iApps

Apps designed to be suitable for typically-developing children and those with learning difficulties or poor fine motor control.

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This is a Ministry of Education initiative

Building a world-leading education system that equips all New Zealanders with the knowledge, skills, and values to be successful citizens in the 21st century.