In order to engage my Year 9 Samoan-immersion class with poetry, I asked them to help me understand Avia’s ‘Wild Dogs’, pretending not to know what “tufuga” means, or not understanding that the image conjured is a malu.

The result was that my students taught me culturally significant information (and I learned a lot!) while learning poetry effects and ‘show-don’t-tell’ techniques.

Some students knew more about their family’s cultures than others, some knew different or opposing details. Together, there was robust, engaged conversation about poetry and culture.