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“Tu’utu’u le upega i le loloto—Cast the net into deeper waters”: Using research and practice to rethink mathematics pedagogy: Let’s dance!

Sinapi Taeao and Robin Averill

Teaching Pasifika learners effectively to improve their educational outcomes is an education priority in New Zealand. New ways to maximise learning are needed. This article shows how dance, a cultural experience of many Pasifika learners, offers strong opportunities for enhancing learning across the curriculum while impacting positively on feelings of wellbeing and belonging. Drawing from the first author’s experiences of teaching secondary school mathematics and Poly club, and a wide range of research literature on the many affordances of dance, we describe the potential of Pasifika dance as a culturally responsive and culturally sustaining mathematics pedagogy. Ways to explore the mathematics embedded in the Samoan sāsā dance with students are described using a sample unit outline. Challenges and supports for teachers of mathematics for using Pasifika dance in their mathematics teaching are discussed.

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