Covid-proof: The Social Practice Fono – going from strength to strength despite lockdown

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Hallie, Jason
Bentley-Gray, Daisy
Filemoni, S.
Kautoke, L.
Komene, A.
Luatua-Alatasi, T.
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Conference Contribution - Oral Presentation
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Auckland (N.Z.)
New Zealand
social work students
social work education
Pasifika students
student success
Bachelor of Social Practice (BSP)
culturally inclusive pedagogy
COVID-19 Pandemic, 2020-
Unitec courses
Hallie, J.A., Bentley-Gray, D., ; Filemoni, S., Kautoke, L., Komene, A. & Luatua-Alatasi, T. (2021, December). Covid-proof: The Social Practice Fono – going from strength to strength despite lockdown. Paper presented at the MIT/Unitec Research Symposium 2021 - Rangahau Horonuku Hou - New Research Landscapes. Mount Albert, Auckland, New Zealand
Pacific success is a target that all 10 Schools at Unitec strive to achieve; however, it is not always an easy target to attain. The approaches applied by the different Schools to respond to Pacific success targets vary. One of these, an initiative from both Unitec’s Bachelor of Social Practice programme and the Pacific Centre, a weekly Fono, has been created to provide an opportunity for Pasifika students to find a space to belong and congregate within this four-year degree programme. This presentation will explore the rationale behind the formation of Fono and how it operates. There will be opportunity for a small number of its regular students to describe how this initiative provides a safe place to learn, belong, and cater for best practice when supporting Pasifika learning. Research has found that Pacific students engage best when they have a sense of belonging and safety in their learning spaces. The presentation also aims to provide an account of an initiative within the Social Practice programme that has successfully supported its Pacific students. In addition, having some of the regular students of Fono present their perspective makes this authentic and reinforces the importance of creating safe spaces for Pacific learners. This presentation will also reflect on evidence gathered through qualitative methodological approaches including Talanoa and individual narratives which are culturally appropriate for data collection. In addition, an analysis of relevant literature has been done to support this work. The findings outlined in this presentation will undoubtedly add to the body of knowledge that exists. However, this research provides an evaluative learner perspective from the sources themselves, as co-author/ co-presenter/ co-owner, which enriches the data shared.
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