Show video transcript

Title slide: Leadership

Rhonda Duncraft, Centre Manager, Teacher, Sydenham Community Preschool, Christchurch, facing camera

We needed to look how can we authentically be inclusive in our practice. And that was one of the journeys that we looked at and started on our journey of Pasifika learners.

So one of the things we did is we built a strong relationship with Tafesilafa'i, which is a local Pasifika centre close to us. We shared PLD. We would visit each other's centres and we supported them and they supported us within our teaching environments. We had celebrations together.

We’re also inclusive of a Tongan centre so we had... we did some teacher swaps, which was really great for our Palagi teachers to go and visualise and be included within a new learning environment so they were pushed out of their comfort zone.

And as teachers come in and out of your centre, they leave, and new teachers come on board, it's that fluidity of teachers teaching teachers. So it's really, not only children teach children but the teachers are teaching each other. So their knowledge is shared and the deeper understanding because you know you get a new teacher come on board and they might say, “Well we're not going to do that”, oop, “Well actually, that’s what they do”. So that really deep understanding is how Pasifika families operate.

Gary Roberts, Principal, Hornby Primary, Christchurch, facing camera

So we've been on this journey now for a number of years. When new staff come in we don't actually have a culturally responsive induction program, so what are the things we do? Well, it starts with me as the principal, so I lead by example, so I'm visible out in the playground. I know the children, I know their names. I put a lot of effort into ensuring that I pronounce their names correctly. So I lead by example and so I expect the staff – they see me doing that – I expect the same from them.

Rhonda Duncraft, Centre Manager, Teacher, Sydenham Community Preschool, Christchurch, facing camera

It's now just everyday practice. And everyday practice for us is when new children come on board and new teachers or students, we have an ava so that they are very aware from the day dot that this is an inclusive practice and Pasifika families are really important, and they have a stronghold within our community.

One of the other ways we celebrate Pasifika and other cultures is when families leave. We will have an umu celebration. Our children are gifted a taonga, which is blessed by all the children and all the teachers. And that goes with them through to their journey, their learning journey through to school.

Students and teachers in class holding an ava ceremony

Ava ceremonies are quite huge. So we sort of simplify it for our children but you can see the children awhi themselves along, and they're like quite proud and even our Fijian-Indian children are like, “We do that, I know that, we love that”. And that is normal practice for them in their home. And to see that in their centre you can just see them starting to rise up and saying, this is about me, they respect me, they know who I am, they’re interested in my culture and they value who I am as a person within the centre.

And we find that with our parents, once they realise some of the procedures we have or some of those cultural aspects that we have within our centre, and it's an everyday practice, they're like, “They do know us, they are opening up”. “They know more than what we know about them. So let's start sharing a little bit about ourselves because they are genuine. They are wanting to know about us, and it is real”.

Gary Roberts, Principal, Hornby Primary, Christchurch, facing camera

From a leadership perspective and being responsive to Pacific learners, an important tip I would provide for others would be you need to lead by example. So visibility is important so I've talked about being out and about welcoming, using the language, creating connections – so leading by example.

Another important aspect of leadership is actually providing the resourcing for other staff to get on and do the job, so for example, here at Hornby we've got two wonderful teachers who look after our Pacific cultural group. They also are provided with a management unit responsibility and also we provide them with the time, so resourcing is as crucial if you want to ensure equity in an inclusive learning environment for all of our learners.

Rhonda Duncraft, Centre Manager, Teacher, Sydenham Community Preschool, Christchurch, facing camera

One piece of advice that I offer to a leader who was looking at Pasifika families within their centre – your team travels together, your team learns together, you have to do it as a team. You can't send the two top people, it needs to be a whole centre. Commitment and philosophy about really being authentic with Pasifika families and successful learning for Pasifika children. You can't just do little bits. It's got to be the whole team travel together.

This video is about leadership support for non-Pacific staff, teachers, and non-Pacific learners to engage in a culturally responsive way. The video describes different examples of reciprocal teaching and learning with cultural content. One example is teacher swaps; visiting teaching environments and combined celebrations as part of professional leadership development. Another example is providing resources to support non-Pacific staff so that they feel connected and comfortable enough to learn and lead others in time. For children, reciprocal learning with cultural content is about taking part; for example, children taking part in the ava ceremony gives their culture relevance and context.

Relevant turu
  • Turu 3

Reflections for individual teachers

As you watch this video think of your role as a leader working within a Pacific context.

  • How can leaders work in partnership with staff, parents, families and communities to achieve positive outcomes for Pacific learners?
  • How can you, as a leader, contribute to ongoing improvements such as curriculum development, staff appraisals, school performance, and reviews of cultural learning?
  • What PLD do you need to undertake for support in your role?

How will you incorporate cultural models in your lessons to guide discussions with your learners, and how does the curriculum support your learners’ languages, cultures and identities?


Reflections for staff or departments

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

  • How is your school fulfilling a role as a custodian of Pacific cultural practices to provide a culturally responsive guide to the curriculum? How are you embedding Pacific cultural practices to support your non-Pacific staff?
  • Does your school have relationships with Pacific elders and leaders and how are they included? Consider connecting with other schools or Pacific groups around your area to support your school activities.

How are you developing cultural capability for leaders in your school? What does good cultural capability for leaders look like?