Teaching and Learning

Talofa lava

For many adults, their recollection of school is that the teacher taught, and, if we were the kind of student who could relate to the topic and/or the teacher, we would learn.

“Relating to the teacher” often meant that we liked them, or, less obviously, we had the same cultural background, learned in the same way as the teacher, or had similar life experiences to the teacher.

In recent years, understanding about the science of learning – neuroscience and cognitive science – has increased massively.

Alongside this, there has been a greater understanding that recognition of culture plays a large part in creating the right conditions for successful learning.

We don’t all engage for the same reasons; we don’t all have the same cultural background, and we don’t all have the same life experiences.

Teaching today is less about simply “teaching” and more about meeting the needs of the learner.

Learners are placed at the centre.  And their culture, something that used to be seen as a secondary concern, if it was a concern at all, has a vital role to play.

As you know, our teachers are involved in professional learning every second Thursday morning, when we have our Late Starts.  Our focus for 2023, linked to our Purpose Curriculum, has been Pacific learning.

We have been very fortunate to engage with the brilliant people at Tui Tuia, based out of the University of Auckland, who have led this important work with all of our teaching staff to enable us to better meet the needs of our Pacific learners.

We have been learning about the nature of authentic talanoa, about the importance of va, and how better to connect with all of the diverse learners in our classrooms through culturally responsive pedagogies.

As an inclusive school of excellence, every Sancta Maria College student has the right to an equitable, high-quality education.

In planning at every level, students with varying identities, language, cultures, abilities and personal qualities, need to be recognised and affirmed and have their learning needs addressed.

It has been an uplifting experience for our teachers learning more about Pacific cultures and feeling better able to connect with our students in a positive, affirming way as the basis for continued academic success.

Ray Green
Deputy Principal, Teaching and Learning