Inspiration, Innovation & Information for school libraries and learning.
By Rob F
How we perceive the Pacific, teach about it and provide resource for it matters. For students with Pacific heritage or origins, self-identity is at stake. Attitudes of non-Pasifika classmates are influenced by what they learn in school.
Library staff are in a position to influence learning as they provide resources for learning. New Zealand, as a South Pacific nation with strong ties to colonial history, trade and development with Pacific neighbours and a significant population of Pasifika New Zealanders, recognises that understanding the Pacific is important.
Tanya Wendt Samu, along with Alexis Siteine, both at the Faculty of Education at the University of Auckland have written many articles about Pasifika and Social Studies education. These articles present a case for studying the Pacific Islands in the Social Sciences and advise on best approaches.
Samu and Siteine describe three perspectives on the Pacific used in Social Studies units:
The most powerful and affirming is the “Oceanic” perspective. An Oceanic approach recognises common experience and traditional views. Today, the world of the Pacific “encompasses the great cities of Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada” with Auckland as its capital. (Hau’ofa 1993)
Most Pacific cultures have long been in contact each other. Dr. Damon Salesa, the first New Zealand Samoan Rhodes Scholar now at University of Auckland’s Centre for Pacific Studies speaks of the Central Pacific island groups round Samoa, Tonga and Fiji as a “Sea of Stories”. These islands shared histories and influence well before European ships traversed Pacific waters. This shared contact helped spread knowledge of Palagi (Europeans) across the region 200-odd years ago.
A few print resources reflect this approach. Samu, with Mona Papali’i and Alison Carter, produced the Tagata Tangata books: Families and work, Our people, our lands, and Contact and change (Pearson). Though organised as text books, the thematic information makes them valuable for libraries as well. Another resource that supports this approach is Marcia Stenson’s Illustrated history of the South Pacific (Random House , 2006).
A “small islands” perspective focuses on individual island nations, in their “smallness and islandness’’, which needs to be connected to an “Oceanic” focus as above, to give context and to support the significance and relevance of the study of the islands. Many resources support a small island view.
There is also the “tourist” approach, focussing on “food, dress and music” with the effect of putting “the natives… on show, vulnerable to the gaze of the dominant culture. This perspective can perpetuate stereotypes, misrepresent cultural realities, and undermine a sense of belonging and identity”. (Samu 2009)
School libraries also have access to a range of digital resources, much of which will support Oceanic or small islands approaches.
For more information and suggested resources for supporting Pasifika students, read more here.
To support positive learning about the Pacific, staff need to be well-informed about the Pacific and personally connected with their Pasifika students. Pasifika voices need to be validated. This can happen when the school library becomes a focus for engagement with Pacific worlds.
What do you do in your library to support learning about the Pacific? We’d love to read about your successes here.
Samu, Tanya Wendt, The location and dislocation of Pacific knowledge and experience in New Zealand social studies (1997-2007). NZCER, Curriculum matters 5: 2009
E. Wadell, V. Naidoo, & E. Hau‘ofa (Eds.) A new Oceania: Rediscovering our sea of islands (pp. 2-16). Suva, Fiji: University of the South Pacific.
By Linda M
School librarians often become the school archivist by default. As the person in school who organises and looks after resources, regardless of origin or ultimate destination in school, the librarian becomes the de facto archivist. If you are inclined to explore this area of resource provision, and have the support you need (time and money) you may find this a very satisfying part of your job.
School archives are a great source of material which students relate to easily, since the materials are often about former students now grown and gone, doing the things that current students still do. There are pictures and articles of past rugby teams and the XV, or poems by previous students published in the school magazine. There are photos of long gone students taken at school balls, and in school drama productions from years gone by.
A teacher at a boys’ school, used his school’s archives as the basis for an NCEA unit with his students, researching ‘Old Boys who’d served in World War II’.
There was a lot of interest in using material from the school archives, but also the students began to search other primary sources: interviewing relatives; delving into old photos; scouring through local history archives; using Papers Past and local newspaper records. The students got some great learning mileage from it.
Learn more about using Primary source materials in you teaching at the Primary Sources section of the Services to Schools site. There’s a lot of help out there if you’re just getting started in archives. Your first port of call is the School Records Retention and Disposal Schedule, which lets you know what to keep and how long to keep it. You may even be required to keep some material, by Act of Parliament! School records are mostly public documents, after all. If you haven’t got a hard copy of this schedule it is downloadable from either the Ministry of Education website.
Have you successfully integrated your school archives into authentic learning experiences in your school? Please share your stories with us.
By Amy guest blogger from the Alexander Turnbull Library
For 15 years Timeframes has been a great site for finding digitised heritage content from the largest public collection of photographs in New Zealand, the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington. You may have used it. You may have also used its content delivered through DigitalNZ or Matapihi.
However, 15 real-time years is roughly 65 digital years and Timeframes is now gracefully retiring from the public arena; going to do a lot of gardening and go for long walks on the beach and …. Ah, what was I saying? Timeframes has been a great service for people to find images online, but it has come to the end of its working life.
Replacing it as the premium channel for finding and browsing the digitised, born-digital and physical collections of the National Library and the Alexander Turnbull Library is the National Library online channel or Beta, as it’s currently known.
I would love you go have a play with this brand new service and let the library know what works for you, and what doesn’t - there’s a feedback opportunity on every single page. We are still developing and changing the site, so what you say could make a real difference to what we do. Really.
In Beta, you can dive into nearly half a million digital photographs, paintings, drawings and many other different types of images alongside all of the published collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library and National Library, including the books that you can borrow for your classroom or library.
The team that is developing this new discovery platform is pretty excited about the large size of the images, the continuous scrolling gallery and the fact that all the huge collections of the library, from an old newspaper article to a digital cartoon, will show up together in response to your search.
Would you use this site? For what? If not why not? I look forward to your questions and suggestions.
L2 - Libraries and Learning is a new blog from Services To Schools. We will be writing about a range of topics that fall within the scope of libraries and learning. Expect to read about: Literacies in the 3rd millennium, technology trends for teaching and learning, research about libraries and student achievement, culture, heritage, and much more.
We are interested in the many ways that libraries impact on learning, through pedagogy, technology, collaboration and personal interactions with students. Subscribe to the RSS feed so you don’t miss any of the stimulating posts.
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