Rae Si’ilata

Te Motu, Te Moana, Te Ao
The Island, The Ocean, The World

Dr. Rae Si‘ilata (Ngāti Raukawa/Tūhourangi/Fiji) is a senior lecturer in the School of Indigenous Graduate Studies at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, an indigenous Māori university in Aotearoa New Zealand. Her research focuses on the development of linguistically and culturally sustaining/revitalising pedagogies for Pacific bilingual learners, and on mixedness and identity construction in Māori-Pasifika whānau/families. Rae supports students to critically examine notions of power, and to value and utilise the language and cultural resources of whānau within learning. She is Director of Va’atele Education, an education research and professional learning consultancy under contract to the NZ Ministry of Education, delivering Pacific Education contracts.

Dr. Rae Si’ilata (PhD) Ngāti Raukawa, Tūhourangi, Fiji
Kaihautū–Director: Va‘atele Education Consulting Ltd.
T: 09 256 9459|M: 021 242 5816|Email: rae@vaatele.nz


ETHER Seminar Two Digital Provocation Abstract: Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi

Va‘atele Education Consulting
Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand

Encountering the ‘other’ is a persistent theme in educational research and practice that positions people who may be distant from dominant cultural norms as different, often in pathologizing ways. As a Māori/Fijian academic working in schools with teachers of Pacific learners, it is crucial to provide ‘dominant culture’ teachers with opportunities to unpack their preconceived notions of the diversities of Pacific ways of knowing and being. In this sense, encountering the ‘other’ entails teachers seeing themselves as ‘other’. When teachers see themselves through the eyes of children and families whose linguistic and cultural resources are different to those valued in educational settings, deficit assumptions are surfaced and disrupted, and transformational change begins to occur. In the Pasifika Early Literacy Project, we normalise bilingual and multilingual language and literacy practices, positioning monolingualism as “other”. Through this approach, the linguistic resources and embodied cultural literacies of Pacific children, families, and teachers are positioned as central to notions of success. ‘Encountering the other’ in multilingual/multicultural contexts entails the teacher understanding how the child and the child’s family might encounter the teacher as ‘other’.



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