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Acquisition of English Proficiency by Students from Samoan Speaking Homes: An Evaluative Study

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dc.contributor.author Esera, Iosua Faatili
dc.date.accessioned 2010-07-19T21:41:00Z
dc.date.accessioned 2022-10-10T23:35:25Z
dc.date.available 2010-07-19T21:41:00Z
dc.date.available 2022-10-10T23:35:25Z
dc.date.copyright 2001
dc.date.issued 2001
dc.identifier.uri https://ir.wgtn.ac.nz/handle/123456789/21680
dc.description.abstract This is an evaluative study of two Samoan-English bilingual programmes implemented in two primary, contributing schools in South Auckland. Both schools are decile 1 schools and all the students in this study were from Samoan speaking families, the majority of which were of low socio-economic status. The purpose of this study was to identify key components of the two programmes that appear to be effective in gaining English proficiency for students from Samoan speaking homes. The study involved assessing students' achievement in both Samoan and English at Year 6 (standard 4) and identify key components of both programmes that need maintaining and/or improving. The hypothesis on which this study was based, was that of Cummins, J. (1986) in his review of a wide range of international studies. Cummins concluded that, where students' language and culture continued to be used and supported for the learning of students from minority language, their maintenance of their heritage language is better, and so is their achievement in acquiring competence in the language of the dominant culture. The results from this study were analysed against the available literature, and they appear to corroborate with evidence from other studies both in New Zealand and abroad. Though this was not intended to be a comparative study, avoiding making comparisons between the two programmes was very difficult. Samoan student population currently, is the third highest behind New Zealand Europeans (Pakeha) students and Maori students. In 2001, it makes up just over half the Pacific Island student population, and is expected to rise in the next few years. The educational achievement of Samoan students in New Zealand continues to be low according to national and international studies. The percentage of Samoan students that leave compulsory education without qualifications is high, and only an estimated 7% make it to tertiary education. One of the factors that appears to have caused Samoan students' low achievement is poor literacy. Finding ways to improve literacy was the main aim of this study. The key findings of this study were: The continued use of Samoan is critical in maintaining Samoan language and facilitative in the acquisition of English. Students appear to have better understanding of ideas in English text when reading, through using Samoan as the language of student-student and student-teacher interactions to explore meaning. Avoiding code switching appears critical in the maintenance of Samoan and the learning of English. Where students are forced to communicate in one language without changing, they are selective in their use of words and structures. Affirmation is made of the correct use of language selected, and errors are easily detected and corrected. Acknowledgement of the students' first language appears to positively affect students' behaviour and their sense of self. The value placed on students' first language appears to positively impact on their academic and social performance. Shared understanding of the vision and the programmes among students, teachers and parents is important. Support from these groups is essential to programme success. Parents' and teachers' positive attitudes and support are essential. Teacher development and continued learning about bilingual education are key components of successful bilingual programmes. Professional support from other staff, especially the principal, is essential. Regular reflection with other colleagues is important and having classes in close proximity is important in creating opportunities to work collaboratively. Teacher fluency in Samoan appears critical in the development of boa Samoan and English. Proper and effective engagement of parents is vital. This study was evaluative in its design, but findings were supported by evidence of earlier studies in acquiring competence in the dominant language by students from language minority groups. It hopefully will be the catalyst for further studies, as more research is needed to investigate further the applicability of each of the key components identified in this study, in particular, for the acquisition of English proficiency by Samoan students, both in New Zealand and in other countries where Samoan is a minority language. It may also be useful for research into gaining proficiency in other dominant languages for other students from language minorities. en_NZ
dc.format pdf en_NZ
dc.language en_NZ
dc.language.iso en_NZ
dc.publisher Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
dc.subject Bilingual education en_NZ
dc.subject New Zealand en_NZ
dc.subject Auckland region en_NZ
dc.subject Linguistic minorities en_NZ
dc.subject Case studies en_NZ
dc.subject Language and languages en_NZ
dc.subject Samoans en_NZ
dc.subject Elementary education en_NZ
dc.subject Education en_NZ
dc.title Acquisition of English Proficiency by Students from Samoan Speaking Homes: An Evaluative Study en_NZ
dc.type Text en_NZ
vuwschema.type.vuw Awarded Research Masters Thesis en_NZ
thesis.degree.grantor Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
thesis.degree.level Masters en_NZ


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