Ako Club invigorates Year 11/12 learning

Through 2019, the Year 11/12 ‘Homework Club’ was being attended by a regular group of 5 Dreamers. The club has always been an opportunity for students at Tikipunga High School to catch up on their work and even get additional support from teachers and volunteers.

However, post-lockdown, Navigator Mo was finding it difficult to re-engage students in the club. Discussion between Mo and some of the more engaged Dreamers decided that it would be beneficial to change the name in the hopes it would attract more students. Ako Club was born and the group is now attended by up to twelve Year 11/12 Dreamers with an additional five non-dreamers who come along as they need.

In te ao Māori, the meaning behind ako speaks of a reciprocal learning relationship – where both the teacher and learner bring knowledge and understandings. By embracing this principle, the participants build a caring and inclusive learning environment where contribution is valued and learning is maximised. [source]

The club’s strength is built on the support network made up of Navigators, Tikipunga High School teachers and two very dedicated volunteers Ronan Payinda, a year 12 from a neighbouring college and Terry Anderson, an ex-Teacher who specialises in Math and Physics.  Terry has been a part of the club since mid 2019 and Ronan came onboard term 1 of this year. The supportive and inclusive elements of ‘ako’ teamed with this engaged network, are key to the successful learning experiences of the students.

“Ako Club is very helpful. It makes me stay on track with my work and I feel supported by my Navigator, Whaea Marie [teacher], Mr McEwen and Mr Holman who watch over my work and help me achieve my goals.’ says Year 12 Dreamer, Nephi Toeke.

Ako Club has recently been opened up to all Tikipunga High School students. While many of these students aren’t studying for NCEA, the club’s inclusive nature provides an environment which encourages learning. It is also giving an opportunity for peer mentoring with some of the confident Year 12’s supporting the junior students with Math and Reading.

One of I Have a Dream’s key values is ‘ako’. The value objective is to ‘Develop students’ mindset and skills to have a positive relationship with their learning’. There are many ways we aim to achieve this across our year groups, including:

  • Tutoring programmes to support in classroom learning and develop key competencies in education
  • Developing and teaching skills for life communication, goal setting, confidence, innovation and determination
  • Advocacy and support at school – learning difficulties, subject selection, attendance, NCEA, problem-solving
  • Connecting them with business and community to understand “the world of work”


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