Implementing the Samoa Secondary Schools Health and Physical Education Curriculum: A Peg in the Ground. “O Le Ma’a Tulimanu Sa Lafoai’ina E Tufuga”
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Teaching and Learning
The aim of this qualitative case study was to examine how the teachers in Samoa were implementing the Samoa Secondary Schools Health and Physical Education Curriculum and to assess what problems the teachers were encountering in the implementation of the curriculum and the barriers that may have contributed to the delay and acceptance of Health and Physical Education as an academic subject. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to collect data from teachers and principals of two different schools. Data was analysed using a thematic approach that allowed for identification of similarities and differences in teachers’ and principals responses and provided a structure for talanoa or discussion. On analysis of the findings, it is apparent that several important aspects of the teaching and learning environment had an impact on the implementation of the new curriculum. These findings include the emphasis on examinations within the Samoan educational system, the lack of confidence demonstrated by the teachers in delivering the content of the Health and Physical Education curriculum, and the limitations experienced with resources and equipment. Moreover, there was an obvious concern of the principals in the ability and skills of the teachers in the delivery of the subject. The findings also indicate that there was more importance placed on theory rather than the practicals which had negative implications on the time spent out doors on physical activities. These findings suggest that there are four main areas of influence on the implementation of the new curriculum; perceptions and attitudes of Health and Physical Education, curriculum knowledge, pedagogical and content knowledge and resources and training. In order for the new curriculum to be implemented successfully, these areas will have to be addressed. As it is the new curriculum marks a new era of development in the Samoa educational system, “a peg in the ground” where a subject that has been marginalised for so long “O le ma’a sa lafoai’ina e tufuga” (the stone that was rejected by the carpenters) can now be given the academic value it deserves.