‘Lalaga Faatasi Aua Le Manuia Mo Taeao': To Weave Together for the Success for Tomorrow

‘Lalaga Faatasi Aua Le Manuia Mo Taeao': To Weave Together for the Success for Tomorrow

Kerry Lee (Faculty of Education, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand) and Meripa Toso (Faculty of Education, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand)
DOI: 10.4018/ijavet.2015010103
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Abstract

Teacher educators have a very daunting task requiring currency in their discipline, curricular, policy and institutional imperatives as well as pedagogical and cultural issues. Tertiary institutions are facing increasing expectations to cater for and increase retention of underrepresented groups, whilst class sizes increase and face-to-face contact decreases. This paper outlines a case study of two lecturers (one European and one Pacific Island) who developed a successful partnership to raise student retention and achievement within a cohort of Pacific Islanders (an underrepresented group in all New Zealand universities). Key aspects which formed the foundation threads of this successful partnership are elaborated upon via the metaphor of weaving. Weaving is a very valuable and highly prized skill and art form amongst many indigenous groups including those of the Pacific Islands. Weaving in the Pacific Island context involves group work, with weavers supporting each other and sharing their expertise.
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2. Background

The term ‘Pasifika’ is used throughout this paper when referring to people of Pacific Island origin. It is important to note that the term ‘Pasifika communities’ refers to such people born in New Zealand as well as those from Pacific nations including; Niue, Tonga, Samoa, Cook Islands, Fiji, Tokelau and Tuvalu (Dreaver, 2009; Gorinski & Fraser, 2006). Pasifika language and culture are different. However, there are some similarities in cultural protocols and ways of doing things. In the early 1960s many families from Pasifika nations emigrated from their homelands to Aotearoa New Zealand. In the 21st century language maintenance, cultural values and belief systems are still upheld especially within the home context (Tuafuti, 2010).

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