Waikato Journal of Education
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How to Cite

Reynolds, M. (2018). Caring for classroom relationality in Pasifika education: A space-based understanding. Waikato Journal of Education, 23(1). https://doi.org/10.15663/wje.v23i1.575


The quality of relationships has been identified as a significant factor in Pasifika education. Pasifika education refers to students who have links with Pacific Islands, who are at schools in Aotearoa New Zealand. In the past, attention has been given to the type of person who can successfully create relationships as a teacher of Pasifika students. In this article, the focus is shifted to an examination of acts which can care for the state of the relationship itself.  This is framed through va, a concept of Pacific origin. Va holds that relational spaces exist between people and entities which, under the ethic teu le va, require care to reach an ideal state. A dialogue between previous literature and the original research (data gathered from Pasifika students through interview and talanoa), provides a ground for discussing some aspects of va and the ways in which these can be cared for in teacher-learner relationships in Pasifika education. Through a Pacific lens, successful teachers of Pasifika students are those able to meet or to learn to meet, cultural expectations rather than simply those immutably gifted with a certain personality type. This understanding opens the possibility of cultivating relationships which can enhance Pasifika student success by grounding this understanding in conceptual language based on Pasifika thinking. In this way, an individualistic reading of Pasifika education is countered by a relational focus consistent with va.


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