Faleolupe: Samoan Parents and Aoga Amata Teachers' Perceptions of Literacy: A Case Study in Auckland New Zealand

Aiiloilo-Maka, Tuluiga
Utumapu-McBride, Tafili
Fairbairn-Dunlop, Tagaloatele Peggy
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Master of Education
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Auckland University of Technology

Literacy is the foundation of all other learning in the child’s life and must be well equipped in the early stages of life so that the future learning achieves better results. However, literacy challenge is a worldwide concern, including the Samoan children born in New Zealand. I focus on Aoga Amata, as their purpose is to nurture the language and culture of the Samoan child. The aim of this research is firstly, to examine parents and teachers’ perceptions of literacy, and secondly to examine how educators enhance this in Aoga Amata, to improve the literacy of the children.
For this qualitative research, I utilised ‘Talanoaga’ as a data collecting method which is a Samoan method used when they do research on Samoan people. The significance of ‘Talanoaga’ in our culture underpins four main components such as talanoaga mafana (warmth), talanoaga malie, (social), talanoaga alofa (love), and faakerisiano (Christianity) which is a culturally rich method of gathering the data, and, each talanoaga with participants are integral to those components otherwise talanoaga will be nothing and meaningless.
The findings suggest literacy learning and language must be initiated first by parents at home in the mother tongue best known by the child. The focus question is, what literacy means to Samoan people. The outcome revealed that Literacy has signified the ability to read, write, speak, action taken, identify, communicate, and make meaning in the environment including cognitive, spiritual and physical components. However, the process of teaching literacy in the Samoan way was integral in a relationship, and that culture, language and spirituality are overarching to the learning and literacy of the Samoan child. The visual resources and actions taken divulged the significance for the Samoan child to learn better, as having visual resources has an impact on the learning progress.

Talanoaga , Aoga Amata , Literacy , Culture
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