Charting Pacific (Studies) Waters: Evidence of Teaching and Learning

Teaiwa, Teresia K.
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University of Hawai‘i Press
Center for Pacific Islands Studies
In this article, I chart my experience of learning and teaching in the awe-inspiring waters of the Pacific and of Pacific studies. I begin by articulating the philosophy that underpins my approach as a teacher. One of the bedrocks of my philosophy is that a teacher must continue to be a learner in order to be of any lasting benefit to themselves or their students. I have used both the canoe and the ocean as metaphors to articulate my deliberate pursuit of a cooperative learning model for Pacific studies and my desire to encourage deep rather than surface learning about the Pacific. I focus now on two other tenets of my teaching and learning philosophy: one deals with the diversity of students’ learning positionalities, and the other anticipates the students’ potential learning trajectories. I present some illustrations of my practice, including narrations about some innovations in teaching and learning in Pacific studies; student evaluations of my teaching and rates of course completion in Pacific studies and graduate successes; my pursuit of professional development and attainment of further qualifications in higher education learning and teaching; and responses from students in the form of reflections and testimonials. I conclude by reflecting on the broader context of higher education in New Zealand in which Pacific studies is situated and some of its ongoing challenges.
Pacific studies, pedagogy, teaching philosophy, learning positionalities, critical empowerment
Teaiwa, T. K. Charting Pacific (Studies) Waters: Evidence of Teaching and Learning. The Contemporary Pacific 29 (2): 265-282.
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