Teaching and Learning Food and Textiles in Samoa: Multiple Perspectives on a New Curriculum
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Teaching and Learning
This is a practical experience study to examine the perspectives and experiences of the teachers, students and parents towards teaching and learning Home Economics or Food and Textiles Technology (FTT) in Secondary schools in Samoa. The study attempts to understand the major factors that impede the successful implementation of the Food and Textiles Technology teaching and learning in the classroom.
The research methodology of the study is drawn from qualitative case study approaches. Teachers, students and parents were interviewed and observed to gather relevant data for the study. Additional research includes analysis of educational documents to assist in creating a well-developed view of the FTT teaching.
The study showed that though a great deal of research is being done to address identified needs in the Samoan education system, little work has been done in the area of home economics/food and textile technology. Additionally, the promotion of technical assistance through the vocational education training programmes is relevant for Samoa but it has not been addressed adequately in the change literature. This study attempts to contribute to meeting these two needs.
The important findings of the study address innovation and support for all curriculum areas. The FTT innovation is a component of the Samoan education system, however, it is still regarded by many Samoans as a ‘second–class’ option in relation to formal education rather than ‘second chance education’ (Jones 1994; and Sharma 1995). Many Samoans accustomed to academic education regard FTT as a low status subject, a belief that is shared by many parents. In some countries women are considered second-class citizens but it is clear that ‘second chance’ education provides an equal opportunity to educate everyone and to provide a safe, respectful and nurturing environment. In addition, the opportunity of a second chance education can enhance the options available for early school leavers.
The Ministry of Education Sports and Culture (MESC) needs to develop strategic policies to strengthen its approaches to the implementation of FTT in the secondary school. It is clear that teaching and learning FTT in schools in Samoa is not a compulsory component of the school system. It is only taken by the schools with resources, a trained teacher and enrolled students who are willing to participate in these courses. The MESC policies are related to its shared vision of a change process that provides teachers with strategies to achieve the desired goal or a set of goals. Therefore MESC policies should be flexible, usable, timely and applicable to the teaching and learning of FTT. Very importantly, the supply of pre- service and in- service training of teachers by MESC is needed to ensure there is a pool of high quality teachers to provide the successful implementation of FTT in the secondary school curriculum.
It is also clear and understood that MESC should provide the appropriate quality resources to the learners to ensure the effective delivery of the FTT programmes in the secondary schools. Normally, FTT is expensive but this should not prevent or limit students’ access to the programmes. All efforts should be made to make the programmes accessible to all students. In order for the implementation of FTT to be successful, all the stakeholders should be active participants of the change process in the FTT programmes and all these programmes should be high quality, sustainable and on going.
In the light of the above findings, it is important for the MESC, principals, teachers and stakeholders to participate and appreciate FTT implementation as a learning opportunity to develop new concepts, skills and behaviour (Huberman and Miles 1984; Joyce and Showers 1998; Fullan, 1991). These interactive and cumulative learning processes have important implications, which are addressed in this study in relation to the numerous target groups involved.