Developing Equity for Pāsifika Learners Within a New Zealand Context: Attending to Culture and Values

Abstract

Many Pāsifika students start their schooling fluent in their own language and with a rich background of knowledge and experiences. However, very quickly they join high numbers of Pāsifika students failing within the education system. The reasons are diverse but many link directly to the structural inequities they encounter which cause a disconnect (and dismissal) of their cultural values, understandings, and experiences. In this article we share the findings across multiple studies of the role that language, family, and respectful relationships hold as enablers or barriers to Pāsifika students’ access to education. We illustrate that when educators consider the language and culture of Pāsifika students and explicitly establish respectful and reciprocal relationships with the students and their family, learning is enhanced and their cultural identity positively affirmed.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Alton-Lee, A. (2003). Quality teaching for diverse students in schooling: Best evidence synthesis. Wellington: Ministry of Education.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Alton-Lee, A. (2011). (Using) evidence for educational improvement. Cambridge Journal of Education, 41(3), 303–329.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Averill, R., & Clark, M. (2012). Respect in teaching and learning mathematics: Professionals who know, listen to and work with students. Set: Research Information for Teachers, 3, 50.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Bills, T., & Hunter, R. (2015). The role of cultural capital in creating equity for Pāsifika learners in mathematics. In M. Marshman, V. Geiger, & A. Bennison (Eds.). Mathematics education in the margins (Proceedings of the 38th annual conference of the Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia), (pp. 109–116). Sunshine Coast: MERGA. pp. 109–117.

  5. Cahill, F. (2006). Crossing the road from home to secondary school: A conversation with Samoan parents. Waikato Journal of Education, 12, 57–72.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Cheung, I. (2015). Culturally responsive teacher actions to support Pāsifika students in mathematical discourse (Unpublished Master’s thesis). Auckland: Massey University.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Civil, M., & Hunter, R. (2015). Participation of non-dominant students in argumentation in the mathematics classroom. Intercultural Journal, 26(4), 296–312.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Coxon, E., Anae, M., Mara, D., Wendt-Samu, T., & Finau, C. (2002). Literature review on Pacific education issues. Wellington: Ministry of Education.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Ferguson, P., Gorinski, T., Wendt Samu, T., & Mara, D. (2008). Literature review on the experiences of Pāsifika learners in the classroom. Wellington: Ministry of Education.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Hannant, B. (2013). What works: Academically successful Pāsifika males identify factors contributing to their educational outcomes (Unpublished Master’s thesis). Auckland: Massey University.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Hawk, K., Cowley, E. T., Hill, J., & Sutherland, S. (2002). The importance of the teacher/student relationship for Maori and Pasifika students. Set: Research Information for Teachers, 3, 44–49.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Hawk, K., Cowley, E. T., Hill, J., & Sutherland, S. (2005). The importance of the teacher/student relationship for Maori and Pāsifika students. Research Information for Teachers, 3, 44.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Hunkin-Tuiletufuga, G. (2001). Pasefika languages and Pasefika identities: Contemporary and future challenges. In C. Macpherson, P. Spoonley, & M. Anae (Eds.), Tangata o Te Moana Nui: The evolving identities of Pacific peoples in Aotearoa/New Zealand (pp. 196–211). Palmerston North: Dunmore Press.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Hunter, R., & Anthony, G. (2011). Forging mathematical relationships in inquiry-based classrooms with Pāsifika students. Journal of Urban Mathematics Education, 4(1), 98–119.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Kritesh, K. (2014). Strategies that support Pāsifika students with high learning needs: Perceptions of those in the field (unpublished Master’s project). Auckland: Massey University.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Lachaiya, R. (2015). The challenges faced by Pāsifika families with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (unpublished Master’s project). Auckland: Massey University.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Ministry of Education. (2009). Pāsifika education plan (2009–2012). Wellington: Ministry of Education.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Ministry of Education. (2010). Statement of Intent 2010–2015. Wellington: Ministry of Education.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Ministry of Education. (2012). Pāsifika Education Plan monitoring report 2010. Wellington: Ministry of Education.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Moll, L. C., Amanti, C., Neff, D., & Gonzalez, N. (1992). Funds of knowledge for teaching: Using a qualitative approach to connect homes and classrooms. Theory into practice, 31(2), 132–141.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Nabobo-Baba, U. (2006). Knowing and learning: An indigenous Fijian approach. Suva: The University of the South Pacific.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Nakhid, C. (2003). Comparing Pasifika students’ perceptions of their schooling with the perceptions of non-Pasifika teachers using the “mediated dialogue” as a research methodology. NZ Journal of Educational Studies, 38(2), 207–226.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Ratliffe, K. T. (2010). Family obligations in Micronesian cultures: Implications for educators. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 23(6), 671–690.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Siope, A. (2011). The schooling experiences of Pāsifika students. Set, 3, 10–16.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Spiller, L. (2012). How can we teach them when they won’t listen? How teacher beliefs about Pāsifika values and Pāsifika ways of learning affect student behaviour. Set: Research Information for Teachers, 3, 58–67.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Tuafuti, P., & McCaffery, J. (2005). Family and community empowerment through bilingual education. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 8(5), 480–503.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Vaioleti, T.M. (2001). We left our island, people and our culture to educate our children in New Zealand. Paper presented to the Educating Pasefika Positively, pp. 10–12.

  28. Vaioleti, T. M. (2006). Talanoa research methodology: A developing position on pacific research. Waikato Journal of Education, 12, 21–34.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Young-Loveridge, J. (2009). Patterns of performance and progress of NDP students in 2008. Findings for the New Zealand Numeracy Development project 2008 (pp. 12–26). Wellington: Ministry of Education.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jodie Hunter.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Hunter, J., Hunter, R., Bills, T. et al. Developing Equity for Pāsifika Learners Within a New Zealand Context: Attending to Culture and Values. NZ J Educ Stud 51, 197–209 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40841-016-0059-7

Download citation

Keywords

  • Culturally responsive pedagogy
  • Equity
  • Language
  • Pāsifika values
  • Relationships