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See me, know me, believe in me: Reimagining Pasifika student success as Pasifika in visual arts

Dagmar Dyck

Pasifika students bring to school rich cultural resources that offer a strong foundation on which to build creative practice. Bringing cultural awareness to visual arts education provides a powerful platform for Pasifika students to embrace success as Pasifika. The recent introduction of Tapasā—Cultural Competencies Framework for Teachers of Pacific Learners (Ministry of Education, 2018) provides an opportunity to inquire into how visual arts education can authentically reflect cultural competencies. This article seeks to share teachers’ beliefs, attitudes, and pedagogical practices that affirm Pasifika students’ success “as Pasifika”. The students themselves also offer insights into their enactment of success through their art works and stories. My experiences as a visual artist and teacher of Tongan descent grounded the research project.

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