Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Engaging Pasifika Parents

I was lucky enough to be able to attend one of Core-Ed's breakfast Seminars in September. I find these really interesting and always come away having learnt something new and making connections with other educators. This one was on Engaging Pasifika Parents and had the inspiring Aiono Manu Faaea-Semeatu presenting. Her Twitter handle is @AionoManu and she has a great blog that has lots of ideas on it. Aiono has a Masters in Gifted Students in Music which ties up two of  my passions, so I was very excited to hear what she had to say. Here are my notes from the morning.
One of the websites she directed us to was http://pasifika.tki.org.nz/Engaging- with-parents which has great ideas supplementing what we learnt on the day.
She started with a beautiful mihi that included pictures which I enjoyed as it really portrayed who she was as a person and as an educator. She then moved on to explain the Pasifika Education Plan as written by the Ministry of Education. She underlined specific areas and expanded on these. From this came many questions we should be asking ourselves.
  • How do Pasifika families learn at home?
  • How do we transfer skills knowledge from home to school? Some may feel their culture is not as important as others feel. Look at alternative opportunities pathways.
  • Remember parents may not be Pasifika descent.

Parents are people - not just parents
Aspirations - what do you know about what they want for their children?
Strengths - what are these families known for?
Interests - what can you connect to them with?
Families  - know both contacts that you have - could be grandparents or other relatives. Hook into parents. Lots of contact.
Individuality - help parents to foster and celebrate what the student does well. If the students are good at arguing - join debating!
Kinesthetic - ask parents to come and do things at school. Take time to connect and explain that their students have a shot at doing well.
Access - give parents information about where students can go after they leave school.

You come with the hopes of your ancestors

Explain Abs SNA NCEA and all the acronyms we use. Need to show parents what and how things work.
Scaffold work.
Unite - do things together. It's ok to be smart. Look at the student's record of learning frequently.
Co-create work.
Capture - bring class back on track but foster contribution.
Elevate - no cap on learning, they can always do more.
Thrive to strive - about persistence.
Support- how we can we help - flipped classroom so parents can help at home.

What happens when no one wants to lead in a group situation?  Be specific with them. One in charge of each part. Give time frame and scaffold what you want from them.

Aiono would have an excellence table at the front of the classroom and would only teach to the front table. Would always maintain high expectations and students would want to be at the front.

Don’t say shame - no shame in this class.
Things that should be on your enrolment form to give you information about parents:
  • language spoken
  • qualifications and learning experiences you have enjoyed at home
  • how do you like to get information - email, phone, in person

Foster warmth and embarrass with love. Use humour -  be funny by association.

The relationship is only as strong as the conversation

We then moved into a workshop where we had the chance to work together and discuss best practice.

It started with us learning about the people we were sitting with and introducing them to others, an excellent way to make sure we were listening! Aiono was amazing and learnt all our names in the first 10 minutes.

Some of the ideas that came out before we started writing were:

  • Be aware of your own bias
  • Listen to student voice
  • We need to try and break down parent bias and previous experience
  • Use music, singing, drumming, dance
  • Have a place in the library with Pasifika flavour. Keep other language newspapers in library for the community to read.
  • Prize giving - give lei
  • Have lunches for families a couple of times a year

Then we gathered in groups to write ideas for best practice in three columns - Learners, Families and Communities, and Staff. Here are the three groups findings.

Aiono said in her classes, many may fail the first NCEA standard as she would set deadlines and make them stick to them. If they fail, they learn more.

Got her students to call out in the grounds how many credits they had.

She then challenged us to write some goals. Some of these are difficult next term without students, as I am starting a new school, but I want put these into play for 2017.

And here are mine:

Learn Samoan
Find a class and practise lots!
Long term goal to be fluent
Communicate more with families
Finding the most accessible way and make sure I send positive comments.
Mid term goal for students at Haeata
Bring parents into the school to contribute to projects
Look at curriculum and see where this can fit. Make connections.
Term 1 2017
Musically - concerts - connections
Look at resources for Pasifika and find out what parents can help with/do musically
Term 1 2017
Attend church/community time
Gain knowledge and find out what is on that I can attend and get to know families
Term 4 if possible

And this one is from me, as I really like her style.
Miss Daisy - PolySwagg 

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