Ngāue fakataha ki he ako 'a e fānau

In this project Pasifika parents, schools and teachers worked together to enhance children's learning, progress and achievement. They developed the Talanoa Ako cycle and tools to support their work together.

Project background

The project involved three primary schools in 2013 and 2014. The proportion of Samoan, Tongan, Cook Islands Māori, Niuean, and other Pasifika students enrolled at these schools ranged from one-fifth to more than three-quarters.

The project investigated and responded to the challenges faced by schools and parents, and students themselves, in working effectively together to support student learning and progress.

It found that strong governance and leadership are essential if schools, teachers, parents and families are to work together in an effective, consistent and sustained way to support Pasifika and all students' progress and achievement.

Talanoa Ako Cycle approach and tools

The project team developed a Talanoa Ako Cycle – 'Talanoa ako' is 'talking together about education' – to support the process of working together.

The cycle sets out key actions to help leaders, parents and  families, teachers, and students anticipate and understand the steps they need to take, and when, throughout the school year.

The team also developed four tools to help schools to implement the Talanoa Ako Cycle.  

When the participating schools trialled aspects of the Talanoa Ako Cycle, there was evidence of positive changes. For example:

  • teachers didn't dominate talk during reporting meetings as often
  • parents were encouraged and better supported to ask questions and provide feedback
  • parents and students had greater understanding of the contents of the written report of progress and achievement
  • there was more discussion about next steps to jointly support the child's ongoing progress.


Dr Lesieli Tongati’o, Kerry Mitchell and Shelley Kennedy, November 2016

Ngāue Fakataha ki he Ako 'a e Fānau – Education Counts website 

There are three project reports: the research phase; the development phase; and a short summary report. You can find the cycle and supporting tools in the summary or the development report.

Further reading

This project builds on findings from other New Zealand resources:

How is my child doing? (2013) – ERO website

Improving education outcomes for Pacific learners (2012) – ERO website

Engaging with families from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds (2011) – TKI website (PDF)

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