Online Forums

Join us!  The online forums are opportunities to engage with educators across the sector to discuss relevant topics.  If there is a topic you would like to facilitate a discussion about or would like to have discussed, send any requests to

University Numeracy Assessment

The talanoa focused on what we, as foundation and bridging education educators, need to incorporate in courses to ensure best practice in the delivery of mathematics / numeracy 
/ pāngarau.  

Key insights were:

  • Confidence building is essential
  • It is necessary to thread/embed numeracy into different classes 
  • Growth mindset is important for developing skillsets
  • Building rapport within the class/group … this creates a context where making mistakes is encouraged.
  • Reflect on which techniques work for each learner
  • May need to (re)present the same concept in different ways (key for designing for universal accessibility)
  • Enable multimodal expression/representation of understanding


Resources shared included:

    1. From good to great: the 10 habits of phenomenal educators for Pacific learners in Aotearoa New Zealand
    2. Culturally Situated Design Tools: Ethnocomputing from Field Site to Classroom


Foundation/Bridging Levels 1-3: Challenges & Opportunities

Our challenges are our opportunities!

  • Students seem more fragile now, less resilient.  Is it the population or the context that has changed?  How to build resiliency into our programmes?
  • Life skills to include – resilience, how to learn, dealing with anxiety
  • influence of NCEA?  eg NCEA students being told it is better to not attempt than to not achieve, & the flow on effect on their next studies
  • residual trauma from online high school makes it harder to participate in online classes?  Many students express a preference for F2F teaching, yet absenteeism is high. 
  • Online study groups – no agenda, just being together while we work. another option
  • Group or Team work is perennially painful but an essential life and workplace skill.  Needs to be deliberately and carefully taught
  • Early low-stakes assessment (instant success) can be life and paradigm changing for students who have not previously experienced academic success
  • The potential of micro credentials for incarcerated students – many are not incarcerated for long enough to complete a formal qualification, but would still benefit greatly from achieving something
  • Maths seems particularly traumatic for some students – potential solution is to make it hands-on, contextualise to places students find the numbers anyway.  eg nursing students do maths in a lab
  • Literacy & numeracy – also suggest creating relevant contexts for words and numbers, so that they arise out of the content naturally & students can relate to them
  • To be avoided: ‘a curriculum so heavy with content that it excludes skills’

Transformational learning

Following a chance for whakawhanaungatanga, we talked through the evolution of formal education and shared examples of how we have experienced or created meaningful opportunities to transform learning and learners.

Shared with permission from Steve Henry

Encouraging engagement in online, asynchronous activities

A great opportunity to share experiences and ideas to support learning in the asynchronous space.  Some of the talanoa is captured below:

  • Engaging students mostly around assessments
  • Students are preferring to access learning online – rather than turning up to in-person classes
  • Some tutors providing time frames for students to access course material
  • Designing tasks that inform the activities to be completed in class (or synchorous sessions)
  • Active use and integration of asynchronous activities into learning/content
  • Often using grades to entice students to complete activities
  • Important to consider the “why” – give students a real reason to participate and consider the why we are teaching this the way we are teaching this?
  • Supporting students to “see” themselves in learning
  • Smaller learning chunks for students – bite size
  • Asking students what is working (and what isn’t) – you might be surprised what resonates
  • Provide opportunities in synchronous sessions to practice and scaffold into asynchronous activities
  • Incorporate main components of UDL (1) multiple representations of information, (2) alternative means of expression, (3) varied options for engagement

Authentic assessment: Linking the workplace with the classroom

How are you responding to AI in your assessments?

A collection of ideas and topics discussed:

  • Make the merit of the learning process explicit,
  • Include interviews as part of academic integrity checks to elicit understanding,
  • Make examples from lectures and tutorials part of the assessment task,
  • Restrict list of references/resources to be used in assessments,
  • Return to supervised assessments,
  • Focus on building relationships and developing trust to minimise reliance on AI
  • Use ChatGPT (or similar) to summarise a text, then have students map the summary back to the text by identifying where the information can be located


Some links shared:

Creating Phenomenal Educators of Pacific Learners

We discussed our reflections on the resonance of the phenomenal habits, the need for intentionality around growing these habits, our mahi ako and the importance of making the power of connections explicit.

HABIT 1 FENUA Pedagogy of reflection

HABIT 2 MOANA Pacific learners / context

HABIT 3 VAKA Pacific-centric methods

HABIT 4 LE TEU LE VA T & L relationships

HABIT 5 OLA Develop practices

HABIT 6 TEATEA Motivation / work habits

HABIT 7 AUPURU Creativity / enthusiasm

HABIT 8 PUTUPUTU Learning community

HABIT 9 AROFA Mentoring

HABIT 10 TIAMA Deconstruct / emancipate


Aiono Manu Fa’aea facilitated the conversation where participants shared experiences and examples from own pedagogy.

  1. Do you identify with and recognise yourself in these 10 phenomenal habits?
  2. If you introduced these concepts explicitly to pacific learners in your programmes of learning, will they recognise these phenomenal habits in your current praxis?


Literacy & Numeracy: Contested, politicised and essential, so how shall we teach it?

Contested: Literacy, numeracy, digital literacy, team work, problem solving, creativity, self direction and critical skills.
Politicised: “Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking” Einstein. “The more you read, the more things you will know.  The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go” Dr Seuss.  Definition: “Literacy is the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute, using printed, digital and written materials associated with varying contexts.” UNESCO
Essential“Higher literacy rates are associated with healthier populations, less crime, greater economic growth, and higher employment rates.” World Bank
So, how shall we teach it, or, how do people learn?
Some ideas that were shared/discussed included:
    • Functioning confidently within a context makes a difference
    • Developing skills toolbox then applying to context (or provide context then skills?)
    • Math anxiety is a real thing
    • Building understanding of relationships between and within concepts
    • Building fluency into literacy/numeracy skill and sense building
    • Build confidence to transition from one context to another

Ideas shared during the talanoa:

Some examples of activities that were discussed:

  • First class email of something you want to tell me or share with me
  • Play games – don’t need to be serious!  Example was acting out of animals for different MCQs
  • Discuss fono model (turtle)
  • Create poster of what interests you about the course – something to talk to
  • Ask me 3 questions and I’ll answer them
  • Balance paper on your head, draw a circle, now draw 2 circles within the circle, now your nose because you are obviously drawing a self-portrait with your name
  • Use pictures that you have taken to share who you are