Views on education: a Samoan perspective

The purpose ofthis thesis was to delve into the educational perspectives of Samoan American middle school students and their parent/guardians to gain an understanding of the Samoan American way of life in the United States and its impact on education. Through this understanding, teaching strategies can be devised that are more sensitive to the Samoan culture, hopefully contributing to a more positive/rewarding learning experience for Samoan American students. This is a qualitative study that involved the interview ofboth student and parent/guardian participants. Participants in this study were chosen based on convenience sampling. All eighth grade students and their parents/guardians who identified as Samoan were invited to participate in two separate focus groups. Data collected from the two focus groups were analyzed for similar trends (Chapter Four) then responses were compared (Chapter Five). This study found that first, respect for family provided extra academic drive for some students. Secondly, the respect for elders that is embedded in Samoan cultural values could keep students from misbehaving in school. Thirdly, respecting the school as a place of learning greatly affects academic success. Finally, both participant groups stressed the importance of knowing Samoan students better. Keywords: Samoan American Perspective; Educational Perspectives; Cultural Influences; Teaching Strategies; Education of Samoan American Students