Faiako Maʻa Tonga

Faiako Maʻa Tonga (FMT) means ‘Teach for Tonga’. FMT was a partnership project between the Institute of Education (IoE) at the University of the South Pacific in Nuku’alofa, Tongatapu and Auckland UniServices, the business arm of The University of Auckland. In 2019 and 2020, Dr. Rae Siʻilata (supported by Kyla Hansell in 2020) worked with project literacy leads and facilitators to co-design and deliver biliteracy workshops in Nukuʻalofa, Tonga to Ministry of Education and Training (MET) Officers and to lecturers from Tonga Teachers Training College. These workshops supported lecturers and MET Officers to deliver biliteracy workshops to pre-service students, and to teachers in schools throughout Tongatapu, Vavaʻu, Eua, and Haʻapai. Vaʻatele’s contribution to this project supported literacy leaders to privilege the linguistic and cultural resources of the teachers and children of Tonga with workshop outcomes focused on:

  • embedding Tongan cultural values, and ways of being within teacher professional learning and teacher practice
  • analysing and using literacy data effectively
  • enacting learner centered pedagogy
  • using communicative tasks to support learners to draw on all of their linguistic and cultural resources
  • teaching vocabulary through lexical chunking
  • embedding the Langa Fale Ako Framework in classroom practice and understanding what it looks like in the teaching of oracy
  • connecting cultural understandings of talanoa with classroom dialogic practices
  • drawing implications from literacy data to plan learning sequences in listening, reading, viewing, and speaking, writing, presenting
  • supporting teachers with shared and guided reading approaches, and with effective teaching of writing.

Vaʻatele’s contribution to this project was completed in 2020.

Whose knowledge is valued at school?

(Si‘ilata, 2014, p. 47)