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Title: A cross-cultural assessment of parental involvement in education in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia 
Author: Donahue, Timothy
Date: 2003-12
Publisher: University of Hawaii at Manoa
Abstract: Do Pacific Island parents in Pohnpei have a problem with their American style education system? If so, what is the nature of the problem? A six-part typology of parental involvement developed by Dr. Joyce Epstein provided the framework for focus group discussions and interviews with Pohnpeian parents and educators on the topic. Western research methods, however, had to be applied carefully and with cross-cultural sensitivity to encourage Pohnpeian participants to reshape the framework and make it meaningful to their situation. Twelve focus groups discussed the six categories of parental involvement, so that two groups talked separately about the same topic. Three principals from elementary schools in varying community contexts were interviewed. The results were rich in qualitative data, and to understand the Pohnpeians' responses required analysis and interpretation through multiple lenses. The perspectives selected were U.S. research on effective practices as well as barriers to parental involvement, the history of Western education in Pohnpei, the differences between formal Western and traditional Pohnpeian education, and the sociolinguistic manifestations of authority in which Pohnpeian schools currently operate. Notes from focus groups and videotapes of group reports were transcribed and translated in interactive sessions with Pohnpeian language informants. The translation process was the first review of the data. Next, summaries of each group and group report were written. Later, a composite profile for each categorical aspect of parental involvement was written by combining the summaries. Interviews were reconstructed from field notes and the written version was given to the principals for their review and comment. The findings were conclusive. Parental involvement in Pohnpei's schools is marked by contention. Inadequate information and unilateral decisions from the schools seriously hamper communications. The nature of the problem, however, rests with the communication structures through which decisions are made. In matters of community concern, like schools, Pohnpeian parents are most comfortable with a hierarchically structured means of consensus-building. The American-style school system, with notions of individual and equal access to decision making, stymies rather than advances communications. The lack of synthesis between the two methods of communication is keeping schools and communities apart.
Description: xvi, 190 leaves
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/6889
Rights: All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.

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