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PSHLP @ Tonga High School

Tonga High School (THS) is one of three schools in Tongatapu taking part in the PSHLP pilot. THS led the participation of Tonga in the pre-feasibility study in 2012 and led the initial phase of the pilot study in 2014. Students in Form 2 (Year 8) have participated in the programme through their science lessons. Students from Forms 1 and 3 have taken part in the evaluation programme, enabling comparison between year-levels who did and did not experience the PSHLP programmes.

Using Group Learning

The PSHLP learning and teaching resources have encouraged the use of group work in classrooms. At Tonga High School we have identified that using group work in our classrooms has resulted in:

  • students being more focused, particularly if the groups are kept small;
  • students being more likely to open up and contribute to discussions;
  • students being more likely to create and ask questions;
  • students discussing ideas together;
  • students becoming more confident about presenting ideas to the whole class.

Data Loggers: Hands on learning using ICTs

Opportunities to take part in hands-on learning allow students to explore concepts and develop understanding. This was identified by the team in Tonga writing the project proposal as something that was often missing from their classrooms. The PSHLP project grant from NZAid has provided a set of 10 data loggers, shared across the three participating schools in Tonga. At Tonga High School the data loggers have been used in Year 8 and Year 11 classes. Using the data loggers students have been able to explore the impact of difference types of exercise on heart rate and take blood pressure measurements - making exploration of how the heart and circulatory systems work much more meaningful. 

Teachers at Tonga High School have found that when students are given the opportunity to participate in hands-on learning using the data loggers they observe:

  • excitement from the experience of seeing, feeling and touching the data loggers and actually taking measurements;
  • improved focus and participation from students who often do not want to leave the task when the bell rings! 
  • discussion about the learning becoming more vibrant in the classroom and clarification of ideas occurring more readily for students;
  • increased interest in science and in the potential of exploring a medical career.

Introducing Tonga High School: The student voice

Tonga High School is a selective state-owned co-educational school in Nuku'alofa, Tonga, catering for students from Form 1 to From 7. When the Liggins Institute team first started working with Tonga High School in 2012 we had the privilege of spending time with Form 7 students who took science subjects. The students worked with us to create the video you can see here to introduce their school, and the values that it represents. Thanks to THS prefect, Jone Waisele Junior who narrates the video on behalf of the students.