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Token content: where Pasifika content is able to be included academic staff need to ensure that it is not tokenistic. The Pacific is home to unique sources of knowledge and indigenous epistemologies that will add value and diversity to the learning of all students.
‘Common sense’: avoid being ambiguous. Assuming that all students will understand things that are ‘common’ for most New Zealanders has the potential to affect all students from diverse backgrounds, not just Pasifika. Remember that your common sense does not necessarily equate with universally held beliefs - one’s common sense is always contextual and underpinned by life experiences.
Supporting academic success: it is important not to over remediate class content. Any concentrated efforts to dumb-down content will patronise Pasifika students and support notions of Pasifika students having a ‘free-ride’ through university.
Being overly lenient: balance is needed – be understanding and accommodating of cultural expectations but not to the extent that you end up being overly lenient. If difficulties arise as a result or you have any concerns about a student’s lack of engagement and attendance due to cultural reasons, the Pasifika Directorate and other Pasifika staff will be able to safely navigate that space using culturally appropriate methods.
Group work: Pacific cultures are community centred and have strong collective values. Working within a group or a collective is a familiar concept for most Pasifika
students. This however does not mean that all Pasifika people prefer to work in groups. Group work can be an effective tool used to nurture confidence within the context of the classroom as it is often difficult for some Pasifika students to voice concerns and/or disclose intellectual opinions or views individually.
“Hard work is a key aspect in achieving academic success, as well as one’s faith and the support that comes from family and friends. There will be obstacles and times where we fall short but having the courage and perseverance to keep pushing until the very end makes it all worth it.”
“I have actively taken part in tutorials including the ones held exclusively for Pasifika and Maori students. I was too self-conscious of asking questions in lectures so..tutorials gave me an excellent opportunity to ask tutors questions face-to-face.”
“Personally it was not easy coming straight from Fiji into a new environment where the workload and expectation was far greater than anything I had encountered. However, I found that my involvement with the (Pasifika) club brought a sense of ease....and helped me to balance my own workload with the commitment to the club and my peers.”
Page authorised by Office of the Assistant Vice-Chancellor Māori and Pasifika
Last updated on Monday 19 December 2016