The first of our study tours was to discover what works in schools in Samoa.
Concerns about achievement levels and learning engagement levels amongst some of our students led Pomade Simona, a Samoan born ESL teacher, to suggest this course of action. The group, including the Principal, three ESL teachers and the Teacher-Librarian stayed in a 'suburb' of Apia, visited four schools in Samoa, met educational officials and attended several ceremonies and cultural events. And they learned a lot. The Samoan families in our community greatly appreciated our interest and newfound knowledge , with positive effects in both respects on our relationships.
One outcome of the trip was to become involved organising events with the local Samoan community to raise funds to provide learning and teaching resources to Siumu Primary School and Palalaua College on the south coast of Upolu. Several teachers returned the next year to deliver the resources to the schools. The donation was celebrated in style at the school, and was considered so notable across Samoa that the welcome ceremony and presentation of resources was televised live nationally for a few hours and reported even on New Zealand television news. The relationship between the school and this part of our community was further enhanced.