Te Kete Ipurangi Navigation:

Te Kete Ipurangi

Te Kete Ipurangi user options:

Using inquiry to engage Pasifika students

Chapters 4–6 of the LPDP Pasifika Study research report (Tula‘i Mai! Making a Difference to Pasifika Student Achievement in Literacy) examine the classroom practices that made a difference for Pasifika students and the professional development practices associated with that improvement.

The researchers developed a set of classroom practice indicators for understanding and categorising the practices they observed. They represent what effective classroom practice looked like for diverse (all) students.

As the study progressed, the researchers described what they saw as teachers adapted their practice to take into account the identities, languages, and cultures of Pasifika students.

This Update presents a snapshot of some of the indicators of effective practice and some examples of practice focused on Pasifika students.

Guiding questions He pātai

  • What do you know about teaching practices designed specifically to improve outcomes for Pasifika students?
  • To what extent do you implement these for your Pasifika students?

While the LPDP was intended to improve achievement for diverse learners, the inquiry and knowledge-building approach (see diagram above) enabled teachers to respond to specific individuals and groups. In "identifying valued outcomes and student learning needs", schools disaggregated Pasifika student data so that they could inquire into specific puzzles of practice in relation to these students.

To "identify professional learning needs", teachers closely monitored the progress of selected Pasifika students and inquired into the impact of their practice on these students. In many schools, teachers realised that they needed opportunities to learn more about how to support oral language development and accelerate vocabulary acquisition, particularly the academic language of the curriculum.

Teachers then "engaged in professional learning" tailored to their needs and strengths. Focusing specifically on Pasifika students, sessions included how to use questioning to promote rich student talk and the explicit vocabulary instruction needed to foster language development.

In schools with high numbers of Pasifika bilingual students, teachers had opportunities to reflect on the linguistic resources these students bring to their learning and how their first languages might be used in the classroom. Some resources that helped support this learning were:

(For more examples of resources that provide professional learning opportunities tailored to Pasifika students and English language learners, please see useful resources.)

Teachers explored how this professional learning could be applied to practice when "engaging students in new learning". This Update presents two examples of teachers applying their learning about effective teaching practice to the specific identities, languages, and cultures of their Pasifika students.

Teachers were expected to "assess the impact" of their practice throughout the cycle by reflecting both by themselves and with their colleagues. They participated in formal learning conversations that challenged them to use information about student learning to notice and understand their own impact on that learning. Teachers used these conversations to identify new puzzles of practice to focus on as they "re-engaged in the next cycle". For example, some schools moved on from a broad focus on oracy and vocabulary development to a more specific focus on understanding and building on the language learning strengths and needs of their English language learners (ELLs).

Download the full print version: Issue 27: November 2012 (PDF, 1,008 KB)