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Engaging with our Pasifika parents, families and communities

Started by Togi Lemanu 19 Aug 2013 10:11pm () Replies (9)

What are schools doing to build relationships and engage with our Pasifika parents?  There are a lot of ideas and strategies that schools are using to work with our Pasifika parents. It will be good if we could all share our ideas and stories to support our colleagues.

Are schools being culturally responsive when connecting our communities?  If so, in what ways. 

Look forward to your responses.  Faafetai lava


  • Togi Lemanu (View all users posts) 25 Aug 2013 1:20pm ()

    These are fantastic responses and please keep it going.  This would be very useful for schools to get onto VLN and join our group because there are a lot of good things out there in schools.  Keep it going guys and get your colleagues to join the group.

    Have a blessed Sunday everyone.

  • Anthony Faitaua (View all users posts) 23 Aug 2013 10:18pm ()

    One of my best parent interviews was a three way conference. My son at a decile 2 school, interviewed me and his beautiful mother, while his teacher sat behind him as a facilitator prompting him. To my surprise, he told us where he was at with National Standards and where his next step is before he moves to Intermediate 2014. To me, it was the most powerful conference I've ever been involved because, it allowed a pasifika child to interview his/her parents, puts the ownership back on us as parents. It makes it a 3 way partnership. However, after the interview, I heard from his teacher, they had a Pasifika PD before hand. 

    On the other hand, to get the Pasifika parents you really want to engage, makes it's a real challenge. How do we we engage those parents? To take a leaflet from Togi and I totally agree with Togi's suggestion, you need to go further than a phone call. Home visits is scary but trust us.... we will either talk to you outside the door, or we will invite you in with some refreshments. Either way, our motto has always been about being humble and hospitable. 

    If we talk outside the door, it means the barrier hasn't been broken. 

    Just wondering, have you have noticed any subtle gestures from your Pasifika students? Please share, would love to explain. 

  • Anne Collins (View all users posts) 23 Aug 2013 12:11pm ()

    Talofa Lava to you all :) It is truly inspiring to read through these comments and know that there are other educators out there who are on the same page. Majority of the points mentioned, are really helpful and do encourage myself to kick start something, at my school. Please continue to share your thoughts on other initiatives and successful approaches from your own experiences or those of people you know. As mentioned earlier, this is an area which i am extremely passionate about, as im sure you are also, and i enjoy reading and learning from you with your expertise. As a third year teacher, i am still learning alot about the system and how to best cater for our Pasifika communities. I would be more than happy and truly greatful to set up a time to meet with anyone who can share their thoughts and ideas. Fa'afetai Lava!



  • Maggie Flavell (View all users posts) 23 Aug 2013 9:12am ()

    Thank you for the contributions.  I am enjoying reading them and find them very useful.  They fit very well with my research.  I loved Anthony's idea of the Pasifika performance before the parents' evening.  My research also supports your idea that students feel safer in small groups which is why they often are passive learners in a whole classroom situation. 


  • Anthony Faitaua (View all users posts) 22 Aug 2013 10:56pm ()

    Talofa Kaine, Anne and Maggie,

    I totally agree with Togi on this one. From my experience working at an Intermediate school with a small number of Pasifika students (27 out 720 students), I was able to create a Pasifika cultural group to build that relationship with the students. As individual learners, they come across as quiet, and modest about their giftedness. As a group, they seem to show more of their talent and skills. This derives from the ideal "it takes a village to raise a child" proverb. In saying this, Pasifika students tend to show more of their skills because they feel they're in a safe environment. From here I had identified some beautiful singers and created a Pasifika music group. Some students had some hidden talent and were able to play the guitar, drums and keyboard and sing. I also found some artist in the group and created a Pasifika Art exhibit. I asked the music teacher and the art teacher for their support and we worked on ideas on putting these groups together to bring in the Parents. We held a Pasifika gathering an hour and half before the parent interviews. The hall was packed and more importantly all Pasifika parents went to their child's interview. We had food organised...trust me...it works a treat. The students were fantastic, the parents were happy and the school was on board. The biggest thing though was holding a staff PD on how to engage with Pasifika families that lead up to the interviews. Always a good idea to hold a Pasifika eveing at least once a term to sustain that relationship. It doesn't have to ba a Pasifika performance night, it could be a Pasifika keynote speaker, Trivia night, coffee club, music night, art auction.  One good thing came from all this was a parent offered to lead the group...and I just facilitated from the back, watched the group grow with confidence and created ideas best for the school to meet Pasifika learners. It was a long challenge, but well worth the time and effort. Hope these ideas are helpful.

  • Togi Lemanu (View all users posts) 22 Aug 2013 9:26pm ()

    Talofa lava Kaine,

    These are great ideas celebrating the different Pasifika nations.  Another one would be the Pasifika language weeks for 2013.  This is posted up on the MPIA website (Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs), they also have really good resources that you can use as well.  

  • KaineHokianga (View all users posts) 22 Aug 2013 4:43pm ()

    I have a committee leadership role with regards to Pasifika at an intermediate school with a low Pasifika population and the problem of parental and community connection is one at the foremost of our thoughts. I have enjoyed reading the thoughts and opinions of the contributors above because of the intent of the conversation: involving Pasifika communities in our schools to help support our Pasifika learners.

    Some of the ideas that have floated around in conversations with other colleagues at my school have included making use of skill sets within the Pasifika communities and bringing them into school, like: celebrating Pasifika foods and celebrating Pasifika arts. The intention being to establish some initial meet and greet opportunties and begin to breakdown the 'unknowns' that may be considered as 'blockers' for Pasifika parents to come into the school environment. 

    I'd really appreciate any thoughts or opinions about if these ideas have worth and how they may be put into action.

  • Togi Lemanu (View all users posts) 21 Aug 2013 10:29pm ()

    Thank you for your email Anne and I do agree with you with our Pasifika parents attending mainly fundraising gatherings.  This is where I see a possibility of using this as a vehicle to getting out the information of getting our Pasifika parents to things like Parent/Teacher interviews.  Other things such as getting students to write up invitations in their own Pasifika languages is another good way of getting the information out to our parents, families.  

    Have you shared the Pasifika Education plan with your team or school? Because this could be one way of getting parents on board - having a night where Pasifika parents are invited and students share their work with their parents.  This could lead into other ways of how to better engage with our parents.  If you do not have enough copies of the Pasifika Education plan I can drop some off to your school and that we can work something out from there.  What do you think?

    Faafetai lava

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Shifting the minds of our Pasifika parents

Shifting the minds of our Pasifika parents

We look forward to hearing from you about any burning questions that you have so we can work together in order to raise the achievement of our Pasifika learners