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Working with Pacific Island and Maori Parents

Geraldine McDonald

If we wish to understand the feelings of people and to involve them in organisations such as the PTA, and get them along to our schools it is helpful to think of these situations as being similar to parties. A party has hosts. It also has guests. Both hosts and guests have feelings about each other. Moreover, guests can turn down invitations to the party. If the party turns out to be a bit dull or boring, or socially stressful, the guests can leave. They can leave physically or they can tune out psychologically. Thinking of Maori and Polynesian parents as guests at a party is a far more useful analogy than thinking that the open day or the PTA meeting is an opportunity to teach parents things. You don't usually try to teach people things at parties. Instead, the hosts concentrate on trying to make the guests feel comfortable and at ease.

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