Aletha Van Vuuren

Doctor of Philosophy
Study Completed: 2017
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Factors Facilitating The Engagement In Learning of Pasifika Students At Intermediate School Level

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Ms van Vuuren's research provided insights into the actions teachers can take to develop culturally appropriate and culturally responsive communities of learning when engaging Pāsifika students in learning. Using a case study, she investigated behavioural and emotional engagement across three different ecological layers including personal, school and wider community. Participant focus groups, surveys, whole class observations, and data from the school's database illustrated the significance of shifting understandings of engagement from being uni-dimensional and within-person, to multidimensional and within communities of learning. A unique contribution of her research was the creation of 'Feeding the Roots' model of Pāsifika student engagement. This model is a cultural assessment and reflection tool that teachers can use within their practices to create higher levels of Pāsifika engagement at student, parent and school levels.

Associate Professor Mandia Mentis
Professor Roberta Hunter