Teaching Today Podcast: Nurturing Pacific culture and engaging with whānau/community

We visited Toru Fetū Kindergarten in Porirua – the first purpose-built Pacifica kindergarten in the country.

Last year they won a Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Award because of strong links with three Pacific communities: Cook Islands, Tuvalu, and Niue. Find out how the teachers nurture strong language and cultural identity in their learners and became the heart of the local community.

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Throughout 2019 workshops were held nationwide, co-facilitated by leading expert Pacific teachers and the Council. These free workshops were designed to help teachers build their confidence, competence and culturally aware practice to engage successfully with Pacific learners.

While workshops are no longer available the workshops resources can be used in any setting.

Workshop workbook

Workshop script

Workshop PowerPoint

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Tapasā values community

In this video, teachers describe their open door policy with parents and their whānau. Tessa and Caro describe their interactions with parents and the neutral ground they create for discussions.

Let's begin to talanoa... Helpful links
  • How do the teachers in this video benefit from informal meetings with their communities? How does or could this occur in your setting?
  • In what ways do Caro and Tessa see themselves as the learners at Sylvia Park School? How could positioning ourselves as learners create opportunities for connecting to the community?

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Tapasā is a compass to navigate diversity

Leitu models a pathway to respectful relationships with students based on trust. He talks about respecting their ‘va’ (teu le va) and puts himself on the same level as them so that successful conversations can take place.

Let's begin to talanoa... Helpful links
  • How do you see the Pacific value of reciprocity demonstrated in this video?
  • How does Leitu’s philosophy and approach consider the holistic and collective aspects of his learners, their parents , whānau and community?

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Tapasā supports different ways of knowing

This video shows Aurora College’s intentional practice of building strong relationships with their wider community with the resulting benefits for students’ social and academic learning. Listen to Antonio, Maleko and Oceania talk about how the course they completed strengthened their sense of connection and identity.

Let's begin to talanoa... Helpful links
  • How does Aurora College weave all three Turu throughout the case study?
  • Why would a strengthened sense of connection and identity impact on learner outcomes?
  • How might you deepen your relationships with the wider community in order to benefit your Pacific learners?

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Tapasā builds bridges

You will hear Ragne talking about meeting the various communities that make up Porirua’s whole school community. She intentionally models herself as a learner and moves out her own comfort zone to make the connections that bring enormous benefits for her students.

Let's begin to talanoa... Helpful links
  • Ragne’s leadership demonstrates a responsiveness to Pacific ethnic-specific identities, languages and cultures. What opportunities do you have in your setting to engage in new ways with your Pacific community?
  • What would you expect to see as the impact this engagement might have on the learners, their parents, families and community? 

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Tapasā and the power of Polyfest

Edgewater College leaders and students’ show how Polyfest brings multiple layers of success; students are reinforced in their cultural identities and receive credits for their work, their families and wider communities provide their cultural knowledge to the school and relationships are strengthened all round.

Let's begin to talanoa... Helpful links
  • How might the experience learners develop through events such as Polyfest strengthen the learning and achievement of all learners in your setting?

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Tapasā and culturally responsive pedagogy

You will hear Kathy talking about a radical change in her teaching style when she first moved to Porirua College. Listen to her talk about her learning journey.

Let's begin to talanoa... Helpful links
  • How has Kathy developed and refined her practice to better connect with and empower her learners?
  • How could being more explicit about developing self-knowledge impact on your teaching practice and the outcomes for your learners?

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Tapasā: giving the document life

Hear the voices of leaders encouraging us to bring the document to life, to adapt our systems and structures to foster shared knowledge and listen to the stories of the people. Leitu speaks of how the framework can identify ways of developing our practice to include the voices of all.

Let's begin to talanoa... Helpful links
  • How effective are are your current school/centre’s protocols and systems in recognising Pacific ethnic-specific identities, languages and cultures?
  • Where do you place yourself in the Tapasā framework currently and what deliberate actions could you take tomorrow to further bring Tapasā to life?

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Tapasā supports teachers' collaboration

Hear about how Tapasā offers a Pacific learner lens on Our Code, Our Standards. Caro and Ambrose discuss how Tapasā supports collaboration between teachers to enhance learning experiences.

Let's begin to talanoa... Helpful links
  • What current opportunities do we have in our setting for teachers to collaborate in their practice?
  • How could we use Tapasā to enhance our collaborative practice in a way that would benefit our Pacific learners?
  • How would we know if effective collaboration was making a difference for our learners?

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Tapasā: our relational past, our reciprocal future

How does Tapasā support us to recognise who we are, where we have come from and have the courage to fully participate in the learning journey? You will also hear how Te Tiriti o Waitangi provides the foundation for this engagement.

Let's begin to talanoa... Helpful links
  • How do we know our setting is welcoming to all?
  • What could we do to further our understanding of what is needed to encourage full participation?

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Tapasā: navigating diversity in ECE

This video discusses how Tapasā acts as a compass for everyone – not just Pacific learners. You will hear Jenny talk about positioning herself as a learner as she engages with her tamariki.

Let's begin to talanoa... Helpful links
  • Are there opportunities in your teaching practice that foster learning partnership?
  • How could Tapasā be used to support strength-based practices that recognise diverse ways of knowing?

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Tapasā is for everyone

This video reminds us of the incredible diversity of the Pacific nations. Tapasā is for all teachers and assists us to see how we can all support the learning and wellbeing of our Pacific students.

Let's begin to talanoa... Helpful links
  • Leitu points out that Pacific teachers are not necessarily experts on all Pacific nations. How could Tapasā help us to build the knowledge needed to connect with the diversity of Pacific learners?
  • What happens in your setting to support collective responsibility for Pacific learners’ wellbeing?

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Tapasā releases the power of cultural capital

Listen to four teachers discuss the cultural capital that all learners bring to their learning context. Observe how the lens of Tapasā validates the experience and knowledge that all learners already possess.

Let's begin to talanoa... Helpful links
  • In what ways do the different communities in the video share their cultural capital with their respective schools and centres? How do the teachers enable this capital to be present in their practice?
  • To what extent are we aware of the different cultural capital learners bring to our settings? How could this knowledge and perspective be better reflected in our practice?
  • Observe the teachers in this video; discuss the non-verbal ways they connect with their learners.

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Tapasā nurtures prior knowledge

You will hear Gina discussing with her team the importance of culture and making room for the diversity of knowledge, beliefs and values of the children in your classrooms/centres. Gina comments: "You don’t have to leave these things at the gate."

Let's begin to talanoa... Helpful links
  • How does Gina create room for her learners to be themselves?
  • How is the concept of ako demonstrated through Gina’s practice?
  • How else might you nurture your learners’ understanding that their own knowledge is valuable to you and others?

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Tapasā responds to community voice

Hear the voices of professional leaders talk about genuine consultation with their Pacific communities. Cathy discusses the imperative of looking at the centre/school’s culture and understanding how that aligns with feedback from Pacific communities.

Let's begin to talanoa... Helpful links
  • Cathy comments that "our families are the best resources and our wider community is the ultimate resource." How is this reflected in your centre or school?
  • How might you weave Pacific community voice in a genuine and meaningful way through your learning programmes or setting?

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Tapasā supports pedagogies that value culture

In this video you will see the strategies Caro and Tessa use to build strong relationships with their learners, how they encourage collaborative practice in their classrooms and the benefits for learners of this approach.

Let's begin to talanoa... Helpful links
  • What teaching strategies do Tessa and Caro employ to recognise the unique contribution Pacific learners can make to maximise social and academic learning?
  • How do you learn from your Pacific learners and their parents?
  • What strategies are you already using to build the social and academic learning of your children and how could you develop these further?

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