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Tonga History Teachers Association (THTA) Conference

Faoliu-Havea, Poliana and Fa'avae, David and Fusitu'a, Liuaki and Folaumahina, Amelia and Latu, Donia and Feao, Elisapeti (2018) Tonga History Teachers Association (THTA) Conference. [Professional and Technical Reports] (Unpublished)

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Education reform is a political catalyst for educational change that can often affect a teacher’s practice, particularly when in-service training and development is either irregular, irrelevant, or non-existent. In light of the 2014 Tonga education reform, outcomes-based education has affected History teachers’ pedagogical practices in the classroom. Curriculum and Assessment have also been impacted. Tonga, like other education systems in the region is driven by formal assessments, and consequently, History teachers’ pedagogical practices reflect this norm. Many Tongan educators have advocated for culturally responsive practices that meet the learning needs of diverse students in the classroom (Helu, 1999; Johansson Fua, 2009; Māhina, 2008; Manu'atu, 2000; Taufe'ulungaki, 2014; Thaman, 2016). Anecdotal evidence suggest a decrease in the number of students enrolled in senior History. Such concerns require the provision of ongoing and regular training and development for History teachers in order to improve the learning and success of History students in Tonga. Though ‘busyness in the classroom’ is normal practice and is part of the professional expectation required from our History teachers; how can they continue to meet expectations and at the same time foster inspiration and empowerment in the transmission of historical knowledge and skills to their students? The question raised is a key focus of the 2018 conference and vision. This report details the 2018 Tongatapu History Teachers Association (THTA) conference which was held on Thursday 17th of May at the Tanoa International Hotel in Nuku’alofa. With support from the Examination Unit and the Tonga Ministry of Education, all history teachers in Tongatapu, Vava’u, Ha’apai, and ‘Eua attended the one day conference which took place from 7:30 am to 4 pm. The primary goal of the conference was to provide pedagogical and assessment support for history teachers. Four secondary schools were invited by the organising committee to deliver workshops that focused on pedagogy in junior history, and assessment at the senior history level. The conference workshops were initiated as ways to regularly support teachers’ in-service professional learning and development. History teachers from Vava’u, ‘Eua, and Ha’apai were all able to attend the conference in Tongatapu, thanks to the funding support from the Tonga Ministry of Education and Training’s (MET) Examinations Unit, and the commitment of its leader, ‘Amelia Folaumahina. Evidence from the post-conference evaluations highlighted that teachers felt empowered and inspired as a result of the collective gathering and sharing through the keynote presentations as well as the workshops. Looking ahead to 2019, the conference participants have identified areas that require further professional learning and development and are stated in this report as recommendations. Both Dr ‘Asinate Samate, the principal of Queen Salote College, as well as Ms Liuaki Fusitu’a, dean of the Tonga Institute of Education (TIOE), have advocated for the need to hold future gatherings where history teachers are able to collaborate, share, and disseminate key learning and best practice in their classrooms. In the meantime, the Tongatapu History Association will continue its monthly meetings and utilize the passion and knowledge learned from this year’s conference.

Item Type: Professional and Technical Reports
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) > Institute of Education
Depositing User: David Fa`avae
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2019 22:02
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2019 22:02

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