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Mana show Feedback

Updated: Apr 28, 2021

I told a joke --- why? To make people laugh.

I perform --- why? To ignite their fire.

Helpful feedback should be goal-referenced; tangible and transparent; actionable; user-friendly (specific and personalised); timely; ongoing; and consistent.

In this blog I have used some of Grant Wiggins article, Seven Keys to Effective Feedback

Effective feedback requires that a person has a goal, takes action to achieve the goal, and receives goal-related information about his or her actions. I told a joke—why? To make people laugh.

I know Plutarch (Greek Philosopher) didn’t exactly say these words but this is where I got the idea from “Children are not vessels to be filled but fires too be Lit.”

This is my feedback goal-reference. Or in other words, I know my feedback goal has been achieved when this quote has been fulfilled.

I perform - why? To ignite their fire.

The interesting thing about feedback for my shows over 20 years is that I can count the negative feedback on one hand and they all came from teachers. In fact it turns out that this feedback was not negative but very positive and helpful in the end.

These are some of the comments that were made:

  • Don’t be too preachy

  • You should take out the hip hop in your show, you don't need it.

  • I would say in my show “ If you were a bird, would you like to sore into the sky with the eagles or would you like to hang around on the ground with the turkeys? A teacher suggested that I use another word other than turkey because the students were Turkish.

  • Don’t say just talk to your parents when you get home, use uncle, aunty, grandparents etc because some of our students don’t have parents.

I have listened to this feedback and changed a few things. I have changed my words E.G. I say scrub turkey now not just turkey. I say, go home and talk to your family mum, dad, auntie, uncle or whoever you live with, not just parents. I am not usually the "preachy type but I remind myself when I start my show more action less talk, and as for getting rid of the hip-hop, well the children love it so it stays.

Below are a few verbal & written feedback quotes I received from children over many years. (High school & Primary school)

  • Thank you for inspiring me

  • Interesting cultural talk

  • Engaging

  • Loved how friendly the presenter was always smiling.

  • Enjoyed how actively engaged he was

  • Relevant stories we could relate to

  • Liked the dances that we got to be part of

  • Felt there was a good connection with him

  • Thanks to you I will look in to my family history

  • Loved the hoop dance and the stories about sharing problems to make it easier

  • I wish that this was an actual subject at school. I learnt so much, he taught me so much but I think it should have been spread out over a period of time because you can’t remember everything that happened.

Sometimes children wait till everyone has gone and they walk up to me and look me into my eyes, shake my hand and say “Thank you.” I stand there bewildered and impressed at the same time.

Many times I have had children come up to me personally after the show and say “I wish you were my father” I feel privileged and saddened by that comment.

Most of them that made this comment never knew their father.

Students from Good Shepherd Catholic School, AMAROO gave me this feedback

March 2021

Teacher’s feedback

Meitaki ranuinui my friend your show has surged within me a drive to find a new personal courage. Connecting through our tupuna

(Porirua College) Karl Payne

I have had an avalanche of positive feedback about your “Mana” show at Emma’s last Friday. You took us on a journey through dance and song that transversed more than a handful of indigenous cultures. The themes of bravery and the importance of challenging yourself were interwoven with personal antidotes that found a home in many hearts. (Chris Barker)

Hi Bernard

It was a pleasure and an honour to see your mana show. I really appreciate and admire what you are doing.

“Bernard encaptured every single students heart and mind the moment he started the Mana show at our school in Timaru. His effortless confidence and pride in his ancestral cultures were clear. Bernard uses a seamless mix of culture, values, history, art, dance, drama and selective humour to portray very holistic and meaningful messages to students. He makes learning about, and living with your culture "cool".

New Zealand Timaru 2016

On 8 May I performed at Roland Dale school Auckland,

A teacher came up to me after my show while I was in the staff room and said that after my show she wanted to do a little 5 min debrief about getting their stories from their grandparents , one boy started crying because his grand mother had died and he couldn’t get any stories from her and then another boy started to cry because his grandfather died and then another. The teacher had to take control before the whole class was crying. But she said how beautiful it was to see year 4 children connect to their grandparents.

Sometimes I get feedback from children in the form of them shearing their challenges with me.

Kia Toa (Resilience show)- Ballarat North Primary School (March 22nd 2016)

I performed two shows of Kia Toa. (The show is about being brave & resilient)

When I finished the first show a young boy came up to me, he was about 9 or 10 and he said “My mother is resilient”

I said “is she”?

Why is your mother resilient”?

And he said that she has brain damage. I then asked if she was in a car accident and he said no it just happened.

“she has trouble walking and feeding herself, and we visit her in Melbourne.” He said.

While he was telling me this his eyes were tearing up and I said do you help her and he said yes. I asked how his father was handling it, and he said ok but he has to work hard.

At another school I had few kids came up to me after the show and talked to me. This one girl (11 yld) came up to me and said my dad has MS and he is going to get an operation to help him next week. He is resilient and strong.

I know that there are some families that are going through things in life that are so challenging that they hurt so much but at least they are bonding by facing this together. They are resilient and it humbles me.


High schools are a challenge for me. My performance is 80% audience participation but the older grades (year 8, 9's & 10's) close up and usually don't want to participate. No matter how skilful you are this is a challenge for any professional.

I was in Tasmania, St Mary's school performing Kia Toa show which is about being brave and resilient. I was performing for year 8's, 9's & 10's and by the end of my show I felt very deflated and disappointed with the outcome. However as I was packing up and the students were walking out of the hall past me one year 10 girl whispered to me "I needed that"

That was the best feedback I could have ever asked for, and that reminded me about my Why?

"Children are not vessels to be filled but fires too be lit." even if it is just one child.

Great advice from Shanita Williams -

Process feedback with a strainer, not a sponge.

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