Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Literacy Update 19 March 2014

Kia ora tātou,
After the forecast Cyclone Lusi failed to wreak the predicted havoc, the stunning autumn weather has returned. I am sitting in glorious sunshine writing this update.

This week I want to take some time to reflect on and share my learning from a recent Pasifika hui.  I was privileged to be immersed in a Pasifika experience complete with an Ava Ceremony and the rich cultural experience of Polyfest.  We worked together in a myriad of ways, creating team banners, learning and practising vocabulary, songs and greetings. I have been increasingly thinking about cultural literacy and what it means to be culturally literate.

The opportunity to experience another culture by participating in their traditions and customs helped me to build my cultural literacy.
What opportunities have you had to experience other cultures and build your cultural literacy?
Pasifika Success as Pasifika in Aotearoa New Zealand is well worth checking out.  The infographic is a visual representation of the findings.   
I am sharing some of the quotes that caused me to reflect deeply:

“Literacy has been equated with freedom, economic development, and even civilization. Literacy comes with many different definitions, historical trends, and serious implications for individuals and societies all over the world.”(Wagner, 2010:161)

In New Zealand, literacy is usually understood as reading and writing. But for Pasifika, the kind of literacy that will bring success as Pasifika in Aotearoa New Zealand includes more than just reading and writing in English.”

“The definition of literacy as multi-modal is also increasingly accepted as encompassing spoken, printed, and digital literacies” (Flewitt, 2008, cited in Lawton, et al., 2012:105).

‘Cultural Literacy’ is a term coined by Eric Donald Hirsch in 1987, who proposed that being ‘culturally literate’ was equally as important as gaining mastery of the technical skills of reading and writing.

This immersion has not only given me a Pasifika heart, I am empowered with a touch of Pasifika literacy.  I am now anxious to build on this and grow my cultural literacy.  

I would love to hear of your Pasifika experiences, and how you are empowering your Pasifika learners to share their cultural capital and literacy within your classes.  
2014 Pacific Language Week programme:
Samoa Language Week: 25-31 May
Cook Islands Language Week: 4-10 August
Tonga Language Week: 1-7 September
Tuvalu Language Week: 29 September-5 October
Fiji Language Week: 6-12 October
Niue Language Week: 13-19 October
Tokelau Language Week: 26 October-1 November

New on the website:
Please check out this e-learning page, a recent addition to the reviewed resources section.  I will focus on a snapshot from this page over the coming weeks.  This week I draw your attention to Enhancing teaching and learning through the use of iPads   This snapshot describes how iPads can be used in junior numeracy and literacy programmes, and offers practical suggestions on how to manage this technology in classrooms.

Other sites to check out:
  • Best Learning Moments by Stephen Heppell is a wonderful summary of a very large number of surveys conducted over a number of years.  Check out the top ten identified best learning moments.  It should come as no surprise that active learning is right at the top, and I personally love that a little eccentricity made it to the top 10!

  • More on Student/Learner Agency by Nick Rate is a reflection on two resources well worth checking out to further your learning around agency, with the new word ‘agentic’ featuring!

  • Writing and Thinking Through the Student User's Guide Assignment This is a wonderful activity which sees the tutor complete the task she sets her learners in a very humorous way!  This is a great reminder to us to have fun, be creative and work on tasks that have great meaning, purpose and clarity!  

NZLA - the 37th New Zealand Literacy Association Conference. Register now at
CLESOL- the 14th National Conference for Community Languages and ESOL. Register now at

Ngā mihi nui

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