How Talanoa Can Build Relationships and Create Positive Change in Your Classroom (Plus 5 Practical Teaching Tips)

Check out the Talanoa video below with Pale Sauni and Saylene Ulberg

This is part of a series on Pacific Cultural Centredness:

Talanoa: The Pacific Concept of Storytelling and Dialogue

Here’s a summary of this short talanoa with Pale and Saylene which is part of our short series on Pacific Cultural Centredness. Scroll down for the practical suggestions.

Talanoa is a concept deeply rooted in Pacific culture. It is a process of sharing stories, experiences, and ideas through dialogue and active listening.

In the Pacific, talanoa is an essential tool for resolving conflicts, building relationships, and fostering a sense of community. It involves taking the time to sit down and talk with each other, sharing stories, and actively listening to one another.

Talanoa is more than just talking. It is a process of building trust, understanding, and mutual respect. It involves a willingness to listen without judgment and to share openly and honestly.

One of the key aspects here is the emphasis on the collective rather than the individual. It is not about one person dominating the conversation or having all the answers. Instead, it is about valuing the perspectives and experiences of everyone involved.

Through talanoa, people can find common ground and work towards a shared understanding. It is a process of co-creation and collaboration that leads to meaningful change.

In the Pacific, this approach is often used in community settings, where everyone has a chance to share their thoughts and feelings. It is also used in more formal settings, such as government and business, to facilitate dialogue and decision-making.

Talanoa has the power to bring people together, break down barriers, and create positive change. It is a tool that can be used in any setting to foster connection, understanding, and community.

If you are interested in learning more about talanoa and how it can be used in your personal or professional life, there are resources available online and in your local community.

In conclusion, talanoa is a powerful concept that emphasizes the importance of storytelling and dialogue in the Pacific. It is a tool that can be used to build relationships, resolve conflicts, and foster a sense of community. By valuing the perspectives and experiences of others and actively listening, we can work towards a shared understanding and create positive change.

What can you do to make your teaching more like “talanoa”?

These aren’t discussed in the video, but here are some practical suggestions for adult educators including trades and vocational tutors about how they can make their teaching more like “talanoa” and less like traditional teacher-fronted teaching:

  1. Foster a safe and inclusive learning environment where all learners feel comfortable to share their thoughts and experiences.

Example: Begin each session with a short icebreaker that encourages learners to introduce themselves and share something about their cultural background.

  1. Encourage group work and collaboration.

Example: Break learners into small groups to work on a task or project together. Ask learners to share their ideas and perspectives and encourage discussion and debate.

  1. Use storytelling and real-life examples to contextualise learning.

Example: Use stories or examples from learners’ own communities or cultural backgrounds to explain complex concepts or procedures.

  1. Use open-ended questions to encourage discussion and critical thinking.

Example: Instead of asking learners to memorise a list of facts or procedures, ask questions that encourage them to think more deeply about the subject matter. For example, “How might you approach this task if you were working in a different cultural context?”

  1. Allow learners to lead the conversation and shape the learning experience.

Example: Instead of following a rigid lesson plan, allow learners to guide the conversation and ask questions that are relevant to their interests and experiences. This can help create a more dynamic and engaging learning environment.

Overall, incorporating talanoa-style teaching methods can help create a more collaborative and inclusive learning environment that is better suited to the needs of all adult learners but especially your Pacific learners.

By fostering a sense of community and shared experience, adult educators can help all learners feel more engaged and motivated to learn.

How Talanoa Can Build Relationships and Create Positive Change in Your Classroom

Author: Graeme Smith

Education, technology, design. Also making cool stuff...

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