An examination of the complex web of influences on the educational achievement of Samoan and Tongan male students in Auckland secondary schools
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Citation:Evans, B. (2018). An examination of the complex web of influences on the educational achievement of Samoan and Tongan male students in Auckland secondary schools. A thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Education), Unitec Institute of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/4385
RESEARCH QUESTIONS: 1. What key values and strategies do Samoan and Tongan parents identify as supporting educational achievement for their children, with specific reference to boys? 2. What factors external to schools do Samoan and Tongan male students describe as influences on their academic achievement in secondary education? 3. In what ways do these external factors impact on academic and longer-term achievement of Samoan and Tongan males? 4. How can these factors be utilised to increase their impact on academic achievement of Samoan and Tongan males? The literature review for this study raised a serious concern that Pasifika males had poor achievement levels in New Zealand secondary schools. Although there was an improvement in the past decade, male Pasifika secondary students as a group, still lagged far behind their Pakeha or Asian counterparts. This research investigated the gap that still exists for Pasifika secondary school males. The aims of this study led to the four research questions that investigated the influences leading to positive educational outcomes for Samoan and Tongan males in New Zealand secondary education. An interpretive paradigm was adopted with a qualitative methodology. Multiple methods of interviews, focus groups and talanoa interviews provided the most appropriate research design to collect data related to the phenomenon of influences on Pasifika male secondary students. These three methods allowed the researcher to investigate a range of different perspectives with three cohorts (recent male Pasifika secondary school leavers, male Pasifika university graduates and Pasifika parents) to provide triangulation. Bourdieu’s (1977) theory of cultural capital was used as a relevant theoretical framework to explore the influences on the academic achievement of male Pasifika secondary students. These students operate within a number of different fields, including church, family, school and friends which all have the potential to provide positive influences during their secondary school education. It is the relationship between these different fields that can support male Pasifika secondary students to succeed academically. The findings showed that male Pasifika secondary students who had achieved academic success understood the sacrifice their families had made by migrating to New Zealand. For the participants of this study, strong influencing role models were provided by peers, school and family, while high expectations from home and school were seen as a positive motivating force. It was perceived as important for parents to understand the time commitment required to achieve at the highest levels of achievement and for families to allow their boys the space and time to study. A fai e te fia alu vave, alu naó oe, afai e te fia alu mamao o faátasi If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together (Samoan Proverb)