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Polyfest as a learning context – The Arts: Dance

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Duration: 2:43

Mangere College students received 4 NCEA credits for their dance performances at Polyfest. They saw value in using the context for motivating them as learners and gaining a depth of cultural understanding. This context also fosters strong family connections and parent engagement.

Edna: I joined the Samoan group because it was part of my NCEA credits and it was to get more depth in my culture and learn about the different kinds of dances, songs, and what we do as Samoan people.

Sesiona: We get four credits out of performing in the Samoan group. For Samoan class, which is separate from the Samoan group, we get four credits for that too. For dance I get four credits as well.

Mark: To get those four credits for Polyfest you’ll be videoed and they’ll be grading you on how well you’ve done. You get videoed three times I think. Our first one is during practice, I think our second one’s during our Fiafia night, we perform, our school, to our supporters, and the third one is at the real Polyfest. After they’ve videoed, they grade you on how well you do and the tutors tell us how well you’re doing and what you need to improve on.

Edna: We had tutors along the way as well as teachers who were there to support us and teach us the different items. The feedback was really helpful for us. It helped us improve on where we needed it, especially as a whole group. I think we did well this year.

Sesiona: Putting NCEA credits in Polyfest would motivate students to work harder and to improve in what they’re doing.

Mark: For me, it’s important to have culture in the school because my parents always push me to do well in education. Growing up, I wasn’t really close to my cultural side but as I enjoyed Polyfest, it helped me to learn things that my culture does, like the dances they do and it was really good for my parents to see that they were happy for me to do it, and I got to learn these new things and learn more about my culture and also help me with my education, try and get my education past level 1 this year.

Edna: I felt more confident coming out of Polyfest, especially when it was a good result as we placed first. It made me feel proud of who I am and for generations to be proud of who they are because it’s for our ancestors and what they gave us, we need to give to them. Because that’s what culture is all about, it’s knowing who you are, where you come from, who your parents were, what they did to get here and what we’re going to give to generations.

Tags: The Arts, Secondary, Cultural responsiveness, Pasifika, Classroom practice