Tongan language is offered from Year 7 to 13 and students are very keen to learn their language so that they can connect with their family and community both here and abroad and to gain better understanding of the way people behave and do things. The skills that language students are becoming confident in include reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Students are fortunate to learn cultural dance and songs, and to participate in language trips to Tonga to experience their culture first-hand and to connect with their roots. Such trips are highlights of the student’s language and cultural learning experiences. Language and cultural dances also offer opportunities for students to gain NCEA credits toward their NCEA qualifications.
According to the NZC, “All students benefit from learning another language from the earliest practicable age. Such learning broadens students’ general language abilities and brings their own language into sharper focus. It enriches them intellectually, socially, and culturally, offers an understanding of the way in which other people think and behave, and furthers international relations and trade.” (Ministry of Education, 1993:10)
Ministry of Education (1993) The New Zealand Curriculum Framework. Wellington, NZ: Learning Media, Ministry of Education.