Talanoa, Manulua and Founga Ako: frameworks for using enduring Tongan educational ideas for Education in Aotearoa/New Zealand
Vaioleti, T. M. (2011). Talanoa, Manulua and Founga Ako: frameworks for using enduring Tongan educational ideas for Education in Aotearoa/New Zealand (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/5179
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/5179
Educational achievement for Pacific students is a Government priority according to the Pacific Plan 2009- 2012 (Ministry of Education, 2009). For Tongan students though, Thaman (1988) highlights major differences in Pacific parents educational aims stating that for them, there is a focus on social and moral aspects of learning and the utilisation of learned capabilities for the common good, rather than a sole focus on individual advancement (pp. 236-237). Education for Tongan students then may need a different approach to recognise Thaman’s finding. This thesis advocates for the inclusion of Tongan educational concepts and values in teaching and learning in Aotearoa/New Zealand. This thesis also argues that in Aotearoa/New Zealand’s schools, Tongan students should be exposed to their own language, moral, social and spiritual concepts, important elements of their culture. The central proposition of this thesis is that Tongan students will achieve better and more meaningful educational outcomes in the country’s primary, secondary and tertiary institutions through improved self-esteem, stemming from an acknowledgement of their Tongan identity and the knowledge that their unique ways of learning are respected in Aotearoa/New Zealand’s education system. To provide a context for my argument, I begin with the journey that I undertook with the support of my fonua, which eventually led me to write this thesis. My approach to addressing the research question involved both an extensive review of the literature as well as numerous talanoa with groups and individuals in several countries. In order to gather the information I required, it was necessary to develop a method that respected the polity and culture of the Tongan people with whom I worked. The appropriate Tongan approach was one that employed the metaphor of the kakala (Thaman, 1993a, 1997a) as an integrating framework for what I term as Talanoa Research Methodology. The information gained and knowledge co-constructed from application of this methodology form the substance of the thesis. From using the Talanoa Research Methodology, information gathered and co-created from numerous talanoa, were used to create an ideal sense of being for a Tongan which is one who is a balanced spiritual social being who is at harmony with self, family, the environment and his/her God/s. This ideal context incorporates an ongoing fusion, negotiation and balancing of supernatural beliefs with the demands of contemporary living. This state is symbolically represented by the ancient motif of manulua. It is proposed that fostering this ideal cultural state in the classroom should be a central aim in education for Tongans. An integrated learning approach that can be used by both teachers and students, one that employs the Tongan educational concepts of ‘ofa, ‘ilo, poto, fatongia and fonua, is suggested to guide teaching and learning that could prepare them to a balanced and harmonious life where they culturally function fully in their own community. I call this integrated learning framework or pedagogy, Founga Ako. Founga Ako framework, along with Talanoa Research Methodology and Manulua gifted from ancestors, kaunga fau and kau nga fa’u represent the three completed kalala I am preparing to luva from this thesis. These are indicative of my ‘ofa and gratitude to my former teachers, family members, inspirational Pacific and other leaders who have nurtured me. The learnings for Tongan students will then be more holistic and aligned to their cultural ways and the aspirations of their communities.
University of Waikato
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