Cooperative Pedagogy specific to Tongans can enhance students’ academic success in New Zealand’s tertiary education. Tongan students’ success depends on teachers’ recognition and understanding of Tongan students’ sociocultural context which involves their pule‘anga (bureaucracy), famili/kāinga (family), siasi (church) and fonua (country) relationships. Tongan students should not be treated within the Pacific groupings because ‘Pacific’ is a term of convenience for peoples who originate from different countries in the Pacific region whose cultures are uniquely different from one another. The term ‘Pacific’ tends to make these students live in the shadow of being treated as if they have the same needs in the classroom. The culturally specific needs of Pacific students are obscured by the assumption that they are homogenous. Academics and educational authorities in New Zealand need to recognise the importance of Pacific students’ culturally specific needs in their educational environments to move towards solving the problems of underachievement. This article explores the use of a culturally specific Tongan Toungāue Cooperative Pedagogy for teaching Tongan students in New Zealand tertiary education. Toungāue Cooperative Pedagogy is rooted in Tongan students’ sociocultural context which is at the heart of the Tongan society. More importantly, this proposed Toungāue Cooperative Pedagogy is transferable and could also be beneficial to other Pacific and Indigenous cultures.
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