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Tapasā: Cultural Competencies Framework for Teachers of Pacific Learners

Malo Ni, Kia Orana, Talofa Lava, Malo e lelei, Fakaalofa lahi atu.

This webpage introduces Tapasā and the Teaching Council’s approach to implementing this framework. It outlines how Tapasā can provide a Pacific learner lens to Our Code, Our Standards

IMPORTANT AMENDMENT: As a result of recent and substantial learning styles approach research we are amending Tapasā to remove reference to Pacific Learners’ learning styles, within Tapasā. Please read more about the amendement and update your copy.

Find Tapasā resources for professional learning here.

Tapasā – a summary

Tapasā: cultural competencies framework for teachers of Pacific learners is a tool that can be used to increase the capability of all teachers of Pacific learners.

Tapasā is a Samoan term, that can be loosely translated as a navigation compass. Tapasā can also be referred to as a guide on a journey.  It serves a dual purpose - as a guide for teachers to navigate their own journey of becoming more culturally competent, and as a symbol of the learning pathway that Pacific learners can undertake.

Three turu, or competencies, form the basis of the framework:

Turu 1: Identities, languages and cultures
Demonstrate awareness of the diverse and ethnic-specific identities, languages and cultures of Pacific learners.

Turu 2: Collaborative and respectful relationships and professional behaviours
Establishes and maintains collaborative and respectful relationships and professional behaviours that enhance learning and wellbeing for Pacific learners.

Turu 3: Effective pedagogies for Pacific learners
Implements pedagogical approaches that are effective for Pacific learners.

Within each of these turu, progressive indicators describe competencies that should be evident within different stages of a teacher’s career. It is linked to both the Standards for the teaching profession and Tātaiako.

The implementation of Tapasā

The Teaching Council, as the professional body for teachers, is excited to be leading the implementation of this crucial document.

All teachers are expected to meet the needs of each of their learners and to model the profession’s values of whakamana, manaakitanga, pono and whanaungatanga. Members of the Pacific community and the profession have come together to create a resource that will support teachers to develop themselves to empower their Pacific learners.

Pacific peoples are the fourth largest ethnic group in New Zealand, with the highest proportion of children aged 0-14. It is estimated that Pacific learners will make up approximately 20% of the student population by 2050.

The Tapasā implementation plan will be co-constructed with expert teachers and leaders. The Teaching Council is putting together an Expert Teacher Group to help make this happen.  

The role of the Expert Teacher Group is to:

  • Consider what might be needed to make a cohesive suite of professional learning resources to give life to Tapasā
  • Develop strategies for socialising the framework in a way that is engaging, meaningful and digestible.
  • Provide Tapasā as a lens through which to view Our Code, Our Standards in teaching practice and appraisal processes
  • Analyse and review the implementation plan as it develops
  • Be our champions on the ground - use their established networks to assist in socialising and embedding the framework across local settings.

Meet the Expert Teacher Group members

Tapasā and the Standards for the Teaching Profession

The Standards for the Teaching Profession are expressions of high quality teaching for all learners across all education settings. The Tapasā framework will help teachers to contextualise quality teaching and learning by providing a Pacific lens to the Standards.

Teachers interpret and refine their own understandings of what each of the standards looks like in their setting. For many teachers in Aotearoa New Zealand, Tapasā will be a key resource for thinking about teachers’ practice and quality learning for Pacific learners.

It is expected that the turu of Tapasā will be explored collegially through the case studies and guiding questions, to strengthen teachers’ understanding, skills and knowledge when teaching Pacific learners, from early childhood through to secondary schooling.

The Code of Professional Responsibility outlines the expectations of the teaching profession for us all. It identifies what we can expect of each other and ourselves. The Tapasā framework can support us to understand and explain Our Code commitments in support of Pacific learners, their families, whānau and communities.

Tapasā and appraisal

In appraisal conversations, Tapasā may be used to discuss the Standards for the Teaching Profession and teaching practice in relation to outcomes for Pacific learners.

Frequently Asked Questions

Click here for answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

What next?

The implementation plan for Tapasā will be finalised at the next Expert Teacher fono on 24 January 2019.

If you would like a digital copy of Tapasā, you can download it here.

If you would like to order a hard copy of the Tapasā booklet, please visit Down the Back of the Chair.  

Fa’afetai lava, Meitaki ma’ata, Malo ‘aupito, Vinaka vaka levu, Fakafetai, Māuruuru maita'i, Ngā mihi nui