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Heliaki: transforming literacy in Tonga through metaphor

Smith, K. and Otunuku, Mo'ale (2015) Heliaki: transforming literacy in Tonga through metaphor. The SoJo Journal: Educational Foundations and Social Justice Education, 1 (1). pp. 99-112. ISSN 2381-5183

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In this paper, we discuss Heliaki, the use of metaphoric language in Tonga (Kaeppler, 2007), and its relationship to literacy. Viewing Heliaki through the lens of critical literacy (Freire & Macedo, 2005), we argue that performances of Heliaki not only represent an indigenous approach to reading and writing the word/world, but may also exist as a culturally relevant strategy for conducting critique. Recent reports on literacy in Tonga (The World Bank Group, 2012) define and assess Tongan students’ literacy rates within a framework largely developed outside of indigenous onto-epistemological orientations to literacy, focusing nearly entirely on functional literacy. Acknowledging the cultural importance and critical potential of Heliaki can nurture the development of pupils’ and teachers’ creative, critical literacies and consciousness (Freire, 1985), providing the impetus for enhanced civic participation and greater social inclusion in Tonga and throughout the Pacific.

Item Type: Journal Article
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PL Languages and literatures of Eastern Asia, Africa, Oceania
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) > Institute of Education
Depositing User: Mo`ale `Otunuku
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2016 23:22
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2016 23:22

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