Abstract: 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.
The Contemporary Pacific – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Aug 9, 2017