Dion Temu is proof positive that studying adult education isn’t just for people working in the education sector.
“I work in the financial capabilities sector so I teach people how to manage their money out in the commmunities,” he says.
Dion has studied adult education at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa in Māngere and Mangakōtukutuku (Glenview, Hamilton) and says he has enjoyed learning in a Māori environment.
“One of the things that I got from all the learning is the idea of being able to learn using a te ao Māori world view, because I’ve always done most of my learning in a western classroom. This whole idea of being able to learn in a very different format, it was so much more inclusive.”
That welcoming and inclusive feeling made returning to study as an adult much easier, he says.
“The fact that you’ve already done all your school stuff and are coming back to it as an adult I thought would be really difficult, but when I actually came here, it was so the opposite.”
Being an adult learner, Dion says the courses often helped him recognise the skills he already had.
“As an adult you come into it with knowledge. I’ve learnt on the job and learnt how to engage with people and that’s just something that I’ve developed personally because it’s my job. I’d been teaching adults for about 25 years with no qualifications and it just gave a name to the stuff that I was already doing.”
He says the adult education skills he’s acquired at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa have proved helpful in his work.
“The funny thing is that I originally came from the hairdressing industry, so it’s a huge change of career. When you’re working with hairdressers a lot of them don’t have the same type of learning style as those I work with now,” he says.
“Most hairdressers are visual learners or kinetic learners so you’re trying to teach them in a different way. In the financial capability sector I’ve had to try and find a way to engage people in budgeting, which can be quite boring for a lot of people. So it made me more aware of the different types of learning. It made me more aware that it’s about getting people involved and getting them more connected to their learning.”
That’s something Dion has excelled at and something Te Wānanga o Aotearoa fosters.
“It feels like you’re a part of a family at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. It’s not about the one individual trying to achieve it’s about the whole unit trying to achieve and that’s what’s great because when you’re an adult learner you have a lot of other aspects to your life,” he says.,
“I take my hat off to people who work, raise a family and study, because there’s always something that happens within your family or life which can affect your work as well as your family. I’ve found that being able to study with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa allowed me to still be able to feel like I wasn’t disconnected from my family.”