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Using digital technologies to support Pasifika students' learning

Successful learning for our Pasifika students is founded on their languages, cultures, and values. It builds on what we know to be effective curriculum and pedagogy in the different cultural contexts that our learners from the Pacific Islands identify.

The Pasifika Education Plan explains the importance of connecting and responding to the identities, languages, and cultures of each Pasifika group in schools. Values such as respect, service, leadership, family, belonging, and relationships are important within Pasifika cultures.

Plan to include all Pasifika learners by:

  • knowing your Pasifika students 
  • integrating their culture into the classroom environment
  • providing opportunities for students to personalise learning so can create successful learning pathways
  • establishing relationships with parents and families to support learning.

"An effective pedagogy that is culturally responsive to Pasifika ensures that the school’s curriculum provides relevant contexts that can engage learners from different cultures.....ensures Pacific learners can draw on their own knowledge of the world and to enable success through building on activities and experiences, with which they are familiar or confident.”

Improving education outcomes for Pasific learners ERO Report, 2012

Why use digital technologies to support Pasifika learners?

Technologies can make it easier to provide relevant and meaningful connections to students’ communities and aiga, and provide learning experiences that are designed around culture, identified needs, strengths, and interests.

Digital technologies enable teachers to:

  • engage with families and communities in ways that meet student needs by drawing on culture and language
  • help build relationships
  • personalise learning for students
  • record, review, share, and clarify progress towards learning outcomes
  • show families that you care about their childrens' progress and can design learning that meets needs and builds on strengths.
Key resources

Pasifika Education community

This space on Te Kete Ipurangi (TKI) provides links to student-focused information and resources to support effective teaching for Pasifika students.

Supporting Pasifika students

This guide provides inclusive teaching and learning strategies that can be used in the classroom to create a more effective learning environment for all Pasifika students. 

Where to start?

When designing effective learning to engage Pasifika learners, start with students’ culturally-located needs and strengths. Involve aiga and fanau in learning-focused discussions.

Putting the "e" in Pasifika - In order to teach you I need to know, Soundcloud recording
Putting the "e" in Pasifika – in order to teach you, I need to know you

Anthony Faitaua (Learning with Digital Technologies facilitator) discusses focusing on the learner first before introducing e-learning tools.

Including Pasifika languages into the classroom

Celebrate the languages of students in your classroom. Use the Pasifika online classroom resources to develop engaging learning activities where your Pasifika students see their language and culture being valued. 

2016 Pacific Language Weeks

  • Samoa Language Week – 29 May-4 Jun
  • Cook Islands Language Week – 31 Jul-6 Aug
  • Tonga Language Week – 4 Sep-10 Oct
  • Tuvalu Language Week – 25 Sep-1 Oct
  • Fiji Language Week – 3-9 Oct
  • Vagahau Niue Language Week – 16-22 Oct
  • Tokelau Language Week – 23-29 Oct

Lalaosalafai Tu’ua teaches at Southern Cross Campus in Mangere. He describes his experience of using video conferencing to teach Samoan at NCEA Level 3 and the opportunities this technology provides for students who would otherwise be unable to access this learning.

Using video conferencing to expand learning options

Create opportunities for students to plan learning that supports their long term goals. Southern Cross Campus student Shona Unasa takes economics via video conference. She shares her learning experience using this medium. 

Supporting and including learners with English as a second language

Kimi Ora Community School teacher, Bridget Harrison talks about using digital stories to support students with English as a second language.

Develop your teaching practice

Use a teaching as inquiry framework to examine your classroom practice and identify strategies and approaches that make a difference for Pasifika students. 

NZC Update 27: Using inquiry to engage Pasifika students
Read these case studies about two highly effective teachers with classes of predominantly Pasifika students and their inquiries into their practice. They focused on:

  • Making meaningful connections using a language experience
  • Supporting language and agency for Pasifika students

Teachers as learners: Improving outcomes for Māori and Pasifika students through inquiry
These learning materials illustrate how teachers have used an inquiry approach to teaching to become more culturally responsive and to improve outcomes for their Māori and Pasifika students.

Effective teaching for Pasifika learners
This video collection explores ways to create student-centred learning environments. 

Parents supporting student learning

Some Pasifika parents have English as a second language. This can be a barrier to them engaging with and supporting their child's learning.  You can support communication with Pasifika parents, aiga and communities by, providing multiple translations of important information so communities can access it. Having these available online to be printed out, sent electronically, or accessed online via your class blog or school website reduces barriers and helps parents to connect with their child's learning.

Learning advisor/coordinator, Ariana Williams explains the importance of connecting with parents to support student learning. She explains, why Sylvia Park School have translated resources like comprehension cue cards for parents to use with their children at home. This enables parents to have the prompts in their native tongue that will help them to be able to support the child at home. More information about the Mutukaroa project  is in the Beyond the Classroom section of Enabling e-Learning.

Holy Cross School is very multicultural community. Principal, Kathy Moy-Low explains how they have consulted with and engaged the parent community in e-learning. One of their initiatives is after school parent technology sessions, which are run once a month. In this video clip, parents explain why they go to the classes – the benefits for their own learning with technology, and how they can engage more with their children's learning.

Home-school partnerships

Finlayson Park School invite parents into the school computer lab and employ a teacher's aide employed to support parents with using computers and the Internet. Watch the  video to find out more about this programme.

More information

Discussions

Join these online discussions in the Virtual Learnng Network (VLN) to share ideas, ask questions, and find new resources to support Pasifika learners in your classroom.

Using ICT to enhance Samoan language

In this EDtalk, May Crichton discusses their process for making digital stories to create Samoan language learning resources to support and extend children’s confidence with their language. This has actively encouraged both children and their families to speak Samoan at home.

Effective teaching for Pasifika learners

This video collection on the Pasifika Education website explores ways to create student-centred learning environments.

Filter by: Primary Secondary

Mutukaroa – Connecting with whānau

Mutukaroa – Connecting with whānau

Project coordinator Ariana Williams explains how and why Mutukaroa works, why it’s so important for parents to understand assessments, and the benefit for them of knowing how to support their child better at home.

Improving oral language and writing with Photostory

Improving oral language and writing with Photostory

Irongate School teacher, Marion Croad, describes the improvements in her New Entrant students' written and oral language as a result of using Photostory.

Parent technology sessions

Parent technology sessions

Holy Cross School principal, Kathy Moy-Low explains how they consulted with and engaged the parent community in e-learning. Parents explain why they attend the after school parent technology sessions. 

Teaching Samoan via video conference

Teaching Samoan via video conference

Lalaosalafai Tu’ua describes his experience of using video conferencing to teach Samoan at NCEA Level 3 at Southern Cross Campus in Mangere.

Using video conferencing to expand learning options

Using video conferencing to expand learning options

Southern Cross Campus student Shona Unasa takes economics via video conference.

Improving student writing with digital stories

Bilingual digital stories

Primary school teacher, Bridget Harrison talks about using digital stories to support students with English as a second language.

Improving student writing with digital stories

Improving student writing with digital stories

Bridget Harrison at Kimi Ora Community School shares how her students are using digital stories to scaffold the writing process.

Polyfest as a learning context – English: Create a visual text

Polyfest as a learning context – English: Create a visual text

Mangere College students describe e-posters they designed as part of their visual arts NCEA assessments to reflect their identity and culture.

Polyfest as a learning context – Art: Creating the Polyfest backdrop

Polyfest as a learning context – Art: Creating the Polyfest backdrop

Students at Mangere College, Zahra and Chris, talk about how they contributed to the Samoan Polyfest as part of Art.

Polyfest as a learning context – The Arts: Dance

Polyfest as a learning context – The Arts: Dance

Mangere College students value Polyfest as an authentic context for NCEA achievement in dance.

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Classroom teaching resources

Pasifika dual language books

The Pasifika dual language resources are designed to support the early language and literacy learning of Pasifika new entrant students in English-medium classrooms. Teacher and parent support material accompanies these resources. Many of the dual language books are available as PDFs and all the books are available as MP3 audio files. Print copies of the texts are available from  Down the Back of the Chair.

Pasifika digital legends

A library of digital legends based on traditional stories from the TurtlePacific, which been selected and retold, in English and Pasifika languages, by New Zealand students as digital stories. The translations include Samoan, Tongan, Cook Island, Tuvalu, Kiribati, Fijian, Niue, and Māori languages. Support material summarising the process of creating a digital legend, unit plans, help sheets, and resources is available from this TKI site.

Pasifika poetry
A celebration of the poetry of tagata o te moana nui, the peoples of the Pacific on the New Zealand electronic poetry centre website.

Teaching and learning gagana Sāmoa
Practical classroom resources from the Pasifika Education Community on TKI include:

  • Learning Sāmoan
  • Storybooks for students with downloadable teacher resources
  • Sāmoa language week
  • Audio files of stories in English and Sāmoan and the Sāmoan alphabet

Gagana Sāmoa website
This website lists common phrases and provides audio to help with pronunciation.

Sāmoan Language Week
Information and resources about Sāmoan Language Week from the Human Rights Commission.

Sāmoan language week
Follow Sāmoan language week activities on Facebook for discussion and a round up of national events and activities.

Digistore – Te Pātaka Matihiko
This Digistore search result for "Sāmoan" lists several resources that can be used in the classroom to support teaching and learning. 

The coconet
Online language games to support students learning Sāmoan.

wickED: Pasifika
This section from the wickED website on TKI provides several interactive activities for students to support learning about people and places in the South Pacific, and Pasifika languages.

Cook Islands language week events across New Zealand
Cook Islands Māori language week is an annual event. 

There are five languages spoken in the Cook Islands. English and Cook Islands Māori are the official languages (except on Palmerston where only English is official).

The other languages are:

  • Pukapukan – from the island of Pukapuka, which is geographically and linguistically closer to Samoa
  • Rakahanga/Manihiki – spoken on the islands of the same name 
  • Tongarevan – spoken on the island of Penrhyn.

Cook Islands Language Week
Information and resources to support teaching and learning activities for Cook Islands Language Week from the Human Rights Commission.

Cook Islands Māori
Downloadable teaching and learning resources from the Pasifika Education Community on TKI.

Resources include:

  • The Cook Islands Māori Language Guidelines
  • I-E-Ko-Ko! An Introduction to Cook Islands Māori – a multimedia resource to support teaching and learning of Cook Islands Māori from Years 7 to 10
  • storybooks and downloadable teacher support materials
  • resources to support Cook Island Language Week.

What's on – Cook Islands Language Week – Te ‘Epetoma o Te Reo Kūki ‘Āirani
Listen to Cook Islands Māori words and greetings and read Cook Islands Māori online storybooks.

Simple Cook Islands words and phrases
A downloadable PDF from the Human Rights Commission website.

Cook Islands Māori language week/Te epetoma o te reo Māori Kuki Airani
This NZC Online resource page provides ideas, resources, and inspiration to help you learn and celebrate the languages of the Cook Islands with your school community.

Tonga Language Week
Information and resources to support teaching and learning activities for Tonga Language Week from the Human Rights Commission.

Lea faka-Tonga
Downloadable teaching and learning resources from the Pasifika Education Community on TKI.

Resources include:

Lea Faka-Tonga NZQA quality assured assessment resources to support internally assessed Level 1,2, and 3 registered achievement standards for Lea Faka-Tonga aligned with The New Zealand Curriculum.

Digital dialects – Tongan
Online games to help with building vocabulary and learning the Tongan language.

Tongan for beginners
A series of seven lessons for beginners learning the Tongan language.

Vagahau Niue Language Week
Information and resources to support teaching and learning activities for Vagahau Niue Language Week from the Human Rights Commission.

All about the Rock: Niuean language week
10 things you should know about Niue from TePapa's blog.

Niuean language week
A series of Niuean heritage images from Auckland libraries.

Vagahau Niue
Downloadable teaching and learning resources from the Pasifika Education Community on TKI.

Resources include:

  • Learning guidelines Tau Hatakiaga ma e Vahahau Niue: The Niue Language Guidelines  
  • Learning Language series  Haia! An Introduction to Vagahau Niue – a multimedia resource to support teaching and learning of vagahau Niue at Years 7–8
  • storybooks and downloadable teacher support materials.

Tokelau Language Week
Information and resources to support teaching and learning activities for Tokelau Language Week from the Human Rights Commission.

Tau Gagana Tokelau – Learn Tokelau
Find out more about Tokelau – the language, islands, myths, and songs. Register on the site and learn Tokelau.

Tokelau dictionary
An online Gagana Tokelau dictionary.

Seven things you should know about Tokelau
Te Papa's blog post describes seven key facts about Tokelau.

Tokelau language week
Links from the NZC website to resources that support building language and cultural understanding.

Tokelau language week – Te vaiaho o te gagana Tokelau
Resources and links from Christchurch City Libraries.

Teaching and learning Gaganan Tokelau

Resources located in the Pasifika Community on TKI:

Tuvalu Language Week
Information and resources to support teaching and learning activities for Tuvalu Language Week from the Human Rights Commission.

Tuvalu language week
Suggestions for introducing Tuvalu language into the classroom, and links to information about Tuvalu on the NZC website.

Tuvalu language week
Key words and phrases, events for the week, language resources, and more information about Tuvalu and the language on the Human Rights Commission website.

Fiji Language Week
Information and resources to support teaching and learning activities for Fiji Language Week from the Human Rights Commission.

Fiji language week
Classroom teaching resources, ideas, and suggestions for Fiji language week on NZC Online.

Learn to speak the Fijian language with Fijian online tutors, books and puzzles
A blog with simple words and phrases for everyday conversations, a Fijian dictionary, and sign-up for free lessons. Access the Fijian Phrasebook App from iTunes or Android.

Learn Fijian words
A video to help students learn the correct pronunciation of words and phrases.

Let’s Meke!
Learn about the meke, an indigenous Fijian song/dance that is performed by both men and women from the TePapa website.

Whale tooth tales
Understand the significance of tabua, a type of Fijian cultural valuable, made from polished whales’ teeth attached to a braided cord from the TePapa website.

Fijian language celebrated in New Zealand
In this episode from TVNZ’s Tangata Pasifika, students of Fijian descent connect with their language and cultural roots.

Resources to support teaching practice

Key resources

Pasifika Eduation Plan (PEP) 2013-2017
The PEP Implementation Plan 2013-2017 is an overview of the Ministry of Education and Education Partner Agencies’ programmes to achieve the goals and targets of the PEP. It includes the lead agencies, key contacts and links to more information on each programme.

Pasifika Education Plan 2013-2017: What does this mean for your school?
Manu Faaea-Semeatu talks about putting the PEP into practice in your school.

Supporting Pasifika students
Inclusive teaching and learning strategies you can use in the classroom to create a more effective learning environment for all Pasifika students. 

Teachers as learners: Improving outcomes for Māori and Pasifika students through inquiry
These learning materials illustrate how teachers have used an inquiry approach to teaching to become more culturally responsive and to improve outcomes for their Māori and Pasifika students.

Effective teaching for Pasifika learners
This video collection explores ways to create student-centred learning environments.

VLN: Learning with Digital Technologies for Māori and Pasifika Learners
An online discussion group for teachers to discuss ideas, ask questions and share resources.

Pasifika language in education
This report provides a snapshot of Pasifika language in education in New Zealand Schools as at 1 July, 2012. It describes two levels of Pasifika language learning – Pasifika medium education and Pasifika language in English medium education, from Education Counts. 

An analysis of recent Pasifika education research literature to inform and improve outcomes for Pasifika learners
This literature review highlights and clarifies key evidence towards improved learning and achievement outcomes for Pasifika learners and identifies priorities for future research in Pasifika education.
Authors: Cherie Chu, Ali Glasgow, Fuapepe Rimoni, Mimi Hodis and Luanna H. Meyer, Victoria University of Wellington
Published: July 2013

Improving education outcomes for pacific learners
Research consistently shows that the more time students spend involved in learning activities, the more they learn and the greater their achievement. The more opportunities learners have to respond to a particular content or practise a skill, the better their understanding of the material or skill.
Author: ERO 
Published: May 2012

Making a difference to Pasifika student achievement in literacy
This research report explores classroom and school-related factors associated with improvements in the literacy achievement and progress of Pasifika students beyond expected levels in schools participating in the Literacy Professional Development Project (LPDP). It also identifies the nature of the professional development support that facilitated these outcomes.
Author: Auckland UniServices Limited for the Ministry of Education
Published: November 2012

Critical success factors for effective use of e-learning by Pacific learners
In November 2005 ITPNZ contracted a team of Pacific researchers from Koloto & Associates Ltd to undertake the research component of their project. Their key objectives were to identify the critical success factors and pedagogy for increasing Pacific students’ access to, participation in, and achievement through e-learning.
Authors:Dr ‘Ana Hau‘alofa‘ia Koloto, ‘Alisi Numia Katoanga, and Lepeka Unafei Tatila 
Published: 2006

e-Learning community discussions


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