The Full Expression of Talanoa alofa: A Pedagogy to Enrich the Spiritual Wellbeing of Pasifika Children in Early Childhood Education from a Samoan Perspective
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This research explores the pedagogical ideas of the concept of “talanoa alofa” from a Samoan perspective, and how it can help enrich the spiritual well-being of Pasifika children, in Pasifika early childhood education (ECE) Aotearoa New Zealand. The study exhibits the views of six Samoan early childhood education (ECE) teachers (a mix of New Zealand born & Samoan born), about the concept of talanoa alofa and spiritual wellbeing from their personal and professional lived experiences. In addition, the study aims to contextualise the knowledge and meaning/s that was discovered/rediscovered from the talatalanoaga into Pasifika ECE. The study utilises the conceptual framework of talanoa as a qualitative research design. Participants were invited to partake in individual talanoaga sessions with the researcher. This gave them a place to freely express themselves and share their thoughts, wisdoms, knowledges and understanding about the topic of interest. Most importantly, it gave them an opportunity to tap into their own spirits to rethink, reflect, reconnect and appreciate their upbringing and lived experiences as positive contribution, to who they have become as Pasifika people in their home countries and Aotearoa New Zealand, especially as parents and educators. Weaving together the meanings, wisdoms and knowledges that were discovered and produced through the talanoaga between the researcher, participants and the literature, this brought about a deeper understanding about the phenomenon. Talanoa alofa is defined in this research as a concept that is derived from the combination, of the term/practise talanoa and the value/principle of alofa. The influence of fa’akerisiano (Christianity) and fa’asamoa (Samoan culture) is also evident in these discussions. In addition, talanoa alofa is identified in the research as one of the most important ways of parenting in the Samoan cultural view. Hence, our proverbs “O tama a manu e fafaga i fuga o laau, a’o tama a tagata e fafaga i upu ma tala” (The offspring of the birds are fed with flowers but the offspring of people are fed with words and stories), O au o matua fanau (The pinnacle of a parents eye are their children). “E leai se gaumata’u na’o le gaualofa” (What you do out of love or with love nurtures and endures - fear does the opposite)” (Tui Atua, 2009, p.54). Furthermore, the relationship between talanoa alofa as a pedagogy, holistic learning and spiritual well-being is identified, examined and discussed in this research. In addition, factors that would possibly influence the implementing of talanoa alofa as a pedagogy are also highlighted and examined.