Example of Pastoral care

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Pastoral care for domestic students

Students can present with a range of challenges when entering tertiary study, and these depend on individual personal and academic circumstances. No longer is education kept separate from people's everyday lives, thankfully. Therefore, at Otago Polytechnic (as with other organisations in New Zealand), teachers and support staff have developed an awareness about the importance of making education accessible to everyone. Therefore, the support services that are provided aim to be as inclusive as possible, reaching as many students as possible to provide support for the varying needs, not just learning. For example: cultural, mental and physical health, religion, financial, technological, well-being and much more. A lot of these support services are also usually available to distance students.

Students who choose to study in your city/town and who come from different regions of New Zealand may face similar challenges to other students. However, due to being away from home they may be more likely to suffer from anxiety, loneliness, homesickness, lack of confidence, lack of friends and family, and lack of social and economic supports etc. These factors could affect their levels of motivation and performance and it is important to ensure that they feel supported.

Tertiary institutions in New Zealand usually provide a range of support services for students. This example of the Student Support services offered at Otago Polytechnic will hopefully illustrate what is on offer in this area. The organisation provides specialised services for groups of students. For example:

  • Student success team - personal problems and study issues.
  • Learning Advisors and Learning support.
  • Kaitautoko - support for Māori students.
  • Pasifika - support and advice for students from the Pacific Islands.
  • Well-being - including assistance for students with a disability.
  • International - specialised assistance for international students.
  • Career counseling services.
  • Information Technology (IT) support.
  • Chaplain.
  • Student health services including counselling.

Hopefully, you can see why it is so important that teachers familiarise themselves with the support and services that are available.

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Consider a specific group of domestic students that you teach.
  • Outline the learning context and the specific needs of the group.
  • Outline any barriers to their learning success.
  • What could you do to ensure they can succeed in their chosen path of study?
  • Post to your portfolio, and share on the Moodle discussion forum.
  • Ask at least one other person in the class a question about the group you have described.


Extra resources

The following publications may provide useful reading for those of you who wish to delve into more depth on the subject of pastoral care for Māori, and Pasifika students.