Te Arapiki Ako
"Towards better teaching & learning"

Tony Pekepo

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Last updated 29 November 2012 15:33 by NZTecAdmin


I’ve worked with a tutor, Taulu Schuster, and he uses the phrasing: "Students don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care" – so he uses that phrase quite a lot. So in terms of that, it’s about developing that connection where your Pasifika learner truly knows that you do care about them. Once that foundation has developed we’ve found that they start to open up, they start to take those risks, those learning risks. They put themselves on the block, you know, put themselves out there; you know, they’re more open to taking more risks and challenges, and challenging themselves within the environment – the learning environment – which they feel safe. So, very important to develop that connection and that relationship to get them at a level where they know that you, the tutor, really does care about their journey, their learning journey. And that may be understanding the history, you know, before they came to you – you need to sort of really understand what’s going on behind the backgrounds.

And that just means about, they may have to ask a lot more questions about their Pasifika learners. Sometimes your Pasifika learner won't tell you, so you really need to go around them and maybe go see one of your Pasifika advisors within your institution. You may need to go and get an idea of the family makeup, their family background, their social groups – understanding the social groups they work with or they’re involved with – sports, performing arts groups, church is another one. You know, not all Pasifika peoples go to church... we need to be careful not to label that and put them into a box where "all Pasifika peoples go to church" – because no, that’s not the case. So we need to be... so that really means what we need to do is really get to know our learner and the context that they operate in. So basically what I’m maybe saying is, it’s really putting it into their context. Literacy and numeracy is only a part of the whole picture; so it’s really just the part – so we need to understand the whole picture first. Maybe we need to flip it around and start with the context, whether it be... while we need to understand the learner's context, whether they be Pasifika, Māori youth – you know, youth come with a different culture as well – so understanding that. And... then we feed in literacy and numeracy into that.

It’s really about understanding the culture or the contexts of the Pasifika literacy and numeracy, and then we build on that knowledge or that foundation... Because they have a lot of literacy and numeracy – but we’re bringing in a different type of literacy and numeracy.

What we’re finding in a Māori context with the Māori learners, and with the Pasifika learners – those ones who do succeed, you know the first time that they’ve gone through – they’re the first one in their family to succeed in getting a degree or certificate, or to achieve in education. And what’s happening is it builds up the whole confidence of the whole family. So it’s not so much, when a Māori or Pasifika learner's studying, you know, it is for them – but it’s really for their wider community. It’s about giving back to the community, and their whole community celebrates the whole learning. So when a Māori learner receives their certificate, or their bachelor or their degree, you get... the whole family gets up there. And Pasifika it would be the same as well – the whole family celebrates. And it’s about... that really... the power of that achievement goes through the individual, but right through the community. Then... in a way, the Pasifika learner or Māori learner feels like they’re achieving and they’ve got a really big responsibility now; and the whole community is looking up to that one individual. So it’s an issue that we’ve noticed that, yes, a lot of the adults struggle in literacy so they can’t help their young ones. So it’s providing them with – the adults – a place where they can learn as well, and so they can pass... at least try and help out.



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