Date of Award


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Education, PhD


School of Educational Studies

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Thomas F. Luschei

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Carl Cohn

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

William Perez

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© 2023 Toby Madubuko


attitude, community forces, diaspora, first-generation, second-generation, West African immigrants

Subject Categories



This qualitative research investigated the first and second-generation diaspora of West Africa and also examined if there were differences between the two generations. The goal was that if such differences exist, it will help plan the learning experience for students with similar backgrounds. The research used in-depth, open-ended interview questions to collect data for analysis. Forty-one participants were interviewed, and they provided personal insight into the first and second-generation West African immigrants' attitudes to education and the differences between them. The participants included university professors, nurses, K-12 teachers, attorneys, and housewives who reside in Los Angeles County in Southern California. The data the participants provided were coded, analyzed, and categorized. The data showed a positive view of education, the economic value of education, respect for authority, religious beliefs influencing attitude, parental involvement, and the importance of working hard. First and second-generation West African immigrants further claim that their school success results from academic diligence, a positive and respectful attitude, non-confrontational behavior, and family and community support, all consistent with John Ogbu’s (1998) research. The research used the topics from the interview to categorize prominent themes the participants articulated. The percentage of the participants that mention the importance of education shows how views about education continue to be dominant and appear to drive attitudes about education in West African communities. Key findings included the belief that going to school was a plausible way out of poverty, education is the pillar of all success, and turning negative stereotypes into assets by embracing education and attitudes related to achievement. This research highlights some of the challenges first- and second-generation West Africans face in school. They face the dual polar-opposite realities of over-expectation of their abilities in the classroom on the one hand and the other hand, condescension of their being and abilities that may be rooted in prejudice motivated by animosity towards their racial group. This knowledge could benefit teachers and administrators to confront this incompatible duality, evaluate how their curriculum addresses the discrepancy, and reflect on possible strategies to ensure equity, respect, and equal accountability for teachers and their students.



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