Staff work hard to live and breathe the values of being respectful; being responsible; being safe; giving 100 percent effort, and these beliefs are introduced to the students from the first day of school.

Performing arts specialist and teacher aide at Chaucer School Shane Akauola says the arts are no exception to this rule.

“The arts should role model values that schools live by,” Akauola says.

“At Chaucer Primary School we use the arts to role model our values … and art should also be used to help students to expose who they are and where they come from.

“Once they learn more about themselves and expose that, it’s almost like putting the pieces to their puzzles to create a picture about them.

“They will feel more proud and confident to be great learners.”

Akauola has worked at Chaucer School for four years and says he strives to be a role model to his students, and ensures he always acts on what he says.

“I believe actions speak louder than words - so my students feed off what I do, not what I say,” he says.

Akauola says he loves the fact the arts expose uniqueness and creativity.

“It helps me to understand more about who I am, where I’ve come from and expose all of that through music and performing arts.”

The educator transfers this aspect of the arts to his students, who all enjoy his classes, and flourish under his guidance and with his reassurance.  

Of Tongan descent, Akauola is particularly keen to ensure his students know what it means to be Maori or Pasifika, and encourages them to celebrate their cultures through art.

In all his lessons and classes, Akauola uses praise and inspiration – and lots of it.

“Not all students have the inner confidence when it comes to the arts, but staying positive and showing them you aren’t going to give up on them shows that you care.”

This helps gains students’ trust, and spurs them on to accomplish their goals.

Currently Akauola is involved with helping students prepare for a range of events they will be performing at – both in school and out of school, including some community events and the Chaucer School prize-giving.

It is important to teach the arts at all levels throughout school from Year 1 to 13, as the arts have a huge influence on the world today.

“Students also respond to what they hear in terms of the music they listen to.

“It can either be used as a negative or positive approach, but if we can use it to empower our students with the right values while they’re young, they will grow to live by it and help to make our world a better place.”