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“How can we teach them when they won’t listen?”: How teacher beliefs about Pasifika values and Pasifika ways of learning affect student behaviour and achievement

Lorraine Spiller


This article describes a study in which a mirror was held up to the complexities of classroom interactions across cultures. Both the teachers and Pasifika students were able to discuss what they saw. The study found that teachers looking for, and acting according to “Pasifika ways of learning” may not always be in the best interests of Pasifika students. Teachers’ own tacit and expressed beliefs and understandings sometimes acted to impede their Pasifika students’ learning. Even when their awareness was raised complex sets of relationships and interactions seemed to be hard to change.

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