Taking a more holistic view

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Title slide: Taking a more holistic view

Lemmo Gallagher, Learning Assistant, Farm Cove Intermediate, Auckland, facing camera

What I find is sometimes they find that they are a bit scared to talk to their teacher and that's usually to them it's big problems but when they actually talk to me and say ‘Oh Mrs Gallagher, can you help me with this? I'm too shy to talk to my teacher, she won't understand, what I need’ and so I do a lot of pastoral care with the children and with that pastoral that's when I'm able to go and see the teacher because that's what they’re asking me. They’re asking me for help to go and see the teacher, have a little word with the teacher and then all three of us we're working together. And we involve the parents too because that's the most important part with our Pasifika children is involving their parents.

Matua Lewis Anderson, Te Whare Ako, Farm Cove Intermediate, Auckland, facing camera

Some of the barriers is that, I think some of them are trying to find their own culture as well, especially these, the Pacific Island children that don't know their culture that well, or their language and I think they, they sort of head towards something that they feel - a belonging maybe. So we have a lot of PI or Pacific Island students that are in the Kapa Haka team and actually lead the Kapa Haka. So the problems they have inside the classroom is the environment, the environment’s not there for them sometimes, which actually affects their learning I think.

Jemiah Teariki, Head Boy, Kelston Boys’ College, Auckland, facing camera

At home I have about, I still stay with my grandpa, my grandma, my mum, dad, two sisters and two uncles including me so that's about nine in the house. But we also have a garage outside so my uncle’s sleeping there and I share my room. We have three bedrooms inside and so I sleep with my sisters there. They take the beds and I just sleep on the floor. And mum and dad have a room and grandpa and grandma have their room, so it's quite packed.

But it’s, I still love it because that's the whole of not having your own room and that. But sometimes it kind of gets, not frustrating but, kind of annoying that I'm sharing my room and all that stuff and it comes from that dangerous side of comparing and that's one thing that I've been kind of trapped in. I’ve kind of matured, I've kind of seen the difference now but when I was growing up. Just the whole comparing like, simple things like, ‘Oh why does that kid have shoes?’ and I'm rocking up to school in feet. That whole thing of just comparison, comparing yourself, comparing me with other kids and other people and just looking at the stuff that they have and not me. But in reverse, vice versa of the stuff that I have and they don’t. Like just family and the whole culture and the whole of how things, how I run and how my culture runs, is cool.

Sione Tonga, Year 8 Student, Northcote Intermediate, Auckland, facing camera

Sometimes in the morning, I usually bus here, then train, then bus again. And like it’s not, I get usually got used to it. Sometimes I think because I like wake up early in the morning and I come to class I’m like really tired to do any work, so I lose kind of focus. Sometimes I get dropped off by my Dad like when he has work in the afternoon - but usually, I bus, train and bus again.

Francis Schaumkel, Academic Captain, Kelston Boys’ High School, Auckland, facing camera

‘Respectful’ to some Tongans means being quiet. And I think especially for learning being quiet would be the last thing you should do. You should always be able to be comfortable and ask questions to your teachers and be mindful of the words you say.

Metui Telefoni, Year 13 Student, Rosmini College, Auckland, facing camera

I know it's quite hard. Like being in a classroom you’re quite bored, um just giving them that extra push. Like, I've had it lucky here I've had teachers like call my parents, email my parents and like pull me out of lunchtimes - they just help me, like get to my goals that I want. And obviously, I want those goals but without my teachers, it's not possible. So just like looking out for them.

Niue students, Manurewa High School, Auckland, facing camera

Sometimes teachers pick on us for who we are, what we look like and they separate us from, like, cultures if you know what I mean.

Metui Telefoni, Year 13 Student, Rosmini College, Auckland, facing camera

The teachers only see the top of everything, they don't see anything that goes on at home or anything like that. So like, just keeping a sense of mind that us students have other stuff going on at home and stuff like that.

Sione Tonga, Year 8 Student, Northcote Intermediate, Auckland, facing camera

Well I usually, like, let my feelings out so some teachers could understand what it's like for me as a kid. I'm experiencing all of this stuff that I’ve been going through. And yeah, that’s like I've been going through a struggle. And yeah I like, I try to get used to teachers a lot. Sometimes I don’t, cause I don't know why I feel like when I go to meet a teacher I'd been for a whole year and then another year I don’t, I get a new teacher but it just doesn't feel like she's like my old teacher.

This video encourages educators to take a holistic view of Pacific learners and recognise their values, life experiences, and strong family connections. The video describes the home life of two Pacific students to illustrate ways that their lives differ from the lives of the teachers and other students. A key message is for teachers to take time to value and understand the diversity and cultural capital of their Pacific learners. 

Relevant turu
  • Turu 2

Reflections for individual teachers

As you watch this video think about your role as a teacher working within a Pacific context.

  • The video calls for teachers to take a holistic view of their Pacific learners. How well do you know your Pacific learners as people rather than just as students?
  • What conversations have you had with your Pacific learners to learn more about their lives?
  • How might you grow closer relationships with your Pacific learners to learn more about them? How can you make them feel comfortable enough to share their life experiences, values, perspectives and aspirations with you?


Reflections for staff or departments

If you watch this video as a staff member or member of a department team, think about effective leadership practices in Pacific cultures.

  • Consider ways that you can connect and build relationships with your Pacific families so that you can learn more about your Pacific learners.
  • How can your early learning service or school better understand and build on the cultural capital that your learners bring?
  • What short, medium, and long term goals can you set for your team to get to know your Pacific learners more?