Lost in Cultural Translation: A Reflective Journey
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Teaching and Learning
This research explores the ways in which high school boys who identify themselves as being from the Pacific Islands make sense of their educational world, and how they navigate through a small city high school in the North Island of New Zealand. Using semi-structured interviews, information is collected about the lives and experiences of the boys and some of their parents and teachers. When their narratives are analysed, three themes emerge: expectations; barriers; and navigation.
During the thesis process my focus shifts to include reflections from my own life history to provide additional insight. This leads to the discovering and adding of voices, all different but all mine: The Pacific Islander, The Academic, and The Obedient Puppet. Within and alongside these voices, the revealed presence of hegemony, cultural capital, and deficit theorising make themselves felt. Collectively, all elements contribute to understanding the boys’ journey through high school.
The findings suggest that the parents of boys currently at school possess or are gaining insights into the workings of education. As a result, they are more able to assist their children than those of my generation. Alongside this new parental knowledge the boys are also making changes in how they navigate and utilise strategies through high school. The school itself is making fewer changes than either the parents or the boys, and the changes that are taking place are dependant on the presence or absence of initiatives by innovative teachers.