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Heliaki: transforming literacy in Tonga through metaphor

Smith, Kevin ORCID: 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.

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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: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
L Education > L Education (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Critical literacy, Oceania, Pacific education, Heliaki, Tonga
Publisher: Information Age Publishing
ISSN: 2381-5183
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 13 July 2015
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2023 20:23

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