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Puna kōrero: Learning from the parents of Māori and Pasifika students

Melanie Riwai-Couch, Ally Bull, and Jane Nicholls

COVID-19 relevance: Engaging learning at home / cultural setting

As a result of COVID-19 and the government’s measures to control it, Term 2, 2020 began with New Zealand school students learning from home rather than at school. This article reports on the results of a survey that explored the experiences of some parents of Māori and Pasifika students during their first week of this school-led learning at home (Riwai-Couch et al., 2020). It uses some direct content from the original survey report and summarises other parts. The responses of parents of Māori and Pasifika students are considered separately in two puna kōrero, where we present the parents’ perspectives using direct quotes from the survey. We identify some patterns and themes arising from these voices and finally pose some questions for educators to think about. While the participant numbers were small, the timeliness of the survey is significant. We were able to present initial parent responses from two stakeholder groups whose children are underserved in the New Zealand education system; and did so in real time as the parents were grappling with the changes that were being implemented. Our hope is that, through this process, new possibilities might emerge that could make the school experience more positive for all learners, now and in the future.

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