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Manu Faaea-Semeatu

quotation markMy mission is to empower people to aspire to be their best; to think and dream about things they never thought possible — and live them.quotation mark

quotation markMy mission is to empower people to aspire to be their best; to think and dream about things they never thought possible — and live them.quotation mark

  • Gifted and Talented — identifying gifted and talented Pasifika students using cultural identifiers that reflect the values of their home communities, honour their heritage languages and cultures, and empower them to thrive in their own programmes of learning using cultural affirmation — not deficit theory.
  • Pasifika responsiveness and inclusiveness — for schools and centres who would like to increase their Pasifika capability and capacity; growing their “Pasifika hearts” to connect with Pasifika learners. This includes: community engagement; Pasifika responsiveness training for school leadership and management; Pasifika professional learning sessions for school staff; Pasifika strategic planning for school charters; recognition of Pasifika identities/languages/cultures.
  • School curriculum design — Empowering Pasifika learners by reviewing the secondary school curriculum and packaging achievement standards for Pasifika learners. Curriculum planning and teacher pedagogy is informed by assessment audits and collecting evidence of Pasifika student voice to create units of learning for classrooms, syndicates, departments, and faculties.
  • Pasifika parents, parents of Pasifika students, families, and community engagement — brokering relationships between the parent communities of Pasifika students with schools and centres by providing professional learning workshops and seminars for parents to cultivate a sustainable culture of “it takes a village to raise a child”.

Manu is a practising ethnomusicologist and educator with teaching experience in Auckland secondary schools. Manu has also been involved in creating submissions and providing consultation feedback for various policy documents such as the Pasifika Education Plan for the Ministry of Education, the Pacific Languages Framework for the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs and the Pasifika Strategy for the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.

She is interested in interacting with educators and supporting them in their work in raising student achievement by realising student potential. 

Assessment audit of achievement standards — curriculum planning and design

  • Hillcrest High School Music Department — Provided an assessment audit of specific assessment tasks created for set works and composition in NCEA Level 1. Māori and Pasifika learners struggled to engage in the set works although they enjoyed taking Music as a subject. Manu taught a class of Year 11 Music students to role model Pasifika pedagogies that promoted student engagement from the entire class, not just Pasifika learners. Students were engaged in learning "music sign language" to learn the elements of music required to understand compositional devices.
  • Hillcrest High School Social Sciences Department — Manu provided some insights into the use of Pasifika pedagogies in different subject areas ranging from Sociology and History to Geography and Social Studies. Manu facilitated an open learning conversation on how to inject Pasifika content and perspectives that would not only appeal to the Pasifika learners, but also benefit other students in the classes through embedding the key competencies into units of learning.
  • Auckland Girls' Grammar School Faculty of English — Provided an assessment audit of achievement standards offered to, and results gained by, Pasifika girls in the school for NCEA Levels 1, 2, and 3 Manu identified which achievement standards could be offered in the English curriculum across all three levels that would appeal to Pasifika learners and explained why Pasifika learners did better in some achievement standards compared to others. This information was delivered in a faculty meeting as part of the school’s strategic focus on raising achievement for Pasifika learners.

Pasifika responsiveness — identifying gifted and talented Pasifika learners

  • Mount Albert Grammar School — Delivered professional learning session to improve pedagogy and understanding of Pasifika learners with a view to improve their academic achievement. Presented research on gifted Pasifika students and how cultural affirmation of students, rather than deficit theorising, can be a way to empower Pasifika learners to fulfil their potential in the classroom.

Connecting cultural performances with NCEA credits from the Dance and Music Curricula

  • Epsom Girls' Grammar — Created assessment tasks and allocated credits to support the school’s ASB Polyfest performances on the Samoan, Tongan, and Cook Islands stages. The school had identified an opportunity to use Dance curriculum standards for students to gain credits in the valuable learning experiences outside the classroom that ASB Polyfest provides.

Empowering Pasifika learners

  • Pacific Island Leaders of Tomorrow (PILOT) Programme — Delivered motivational speech on experiencing Pasifika success as Pasifika to Year 12 students from 15 Auckland secondary schools who had attended leadership training at Manukau Institute of Technology and Unitec. This is an initiative organised for senior secondary school Pasifika students; a collaboration between AUT University, Best Pacific Institute of Education, Manukau Institute of Technology, Massey University, NZ Management Academies, Unitec Institute of Technology, University of Auckland, Victoria University of Wellington, Waikato University, and Career Services.              

Increasing NCEA understanding for parents of Māori and Pasifika learners

  • Marian College — With Togi Lemanu, Manu facilitated a Māori and Pasifika NCEA information session with the parents of Māori and Pasifika learners in the school. The session involved unpacking NCEA jargon in an intimate setting which empowered Māori and Pasifika parents to ask questions freely. Parents left the meeting with a better understanding of subject endorsements, certificate endorsements, services available to students, NZQA regulations, and how to access and navigate the NZQA website (especially the Māori and Pasifika sections pertinent for their children). Parents commented on their improved understanding of achievement criteria for achievement standards and the different assessment grades: Not Achieved; Achieved; Merit; Excellence.  

Valuing student voice, daring to dream, knowing your learner — success together

  • McAuley High School — At a parents and students career expo, Manu delivered a motivational speech for Pasifika students, providing insights into: leadership opportunities that they can organise for themselves in schools; aptitudes and attitudes for learning; and aspirations for success. McAuley High School teachers at this event heard about Manu’s philosophy of “reach before you teach” the students and has subsequently been invited to address the staff in a professional learning session for a Teacher Only Day about restorative practices.