Confirmation of Candidature - Kele Yako

Thu 26 Nov 2020 10:30am




This study aims to investigate the existing teacher education programs in Papua New Guinea and the extent to which they contribute to developing skills like: judging, reflecting, assessing, critiquing, and creativity, which are important aspects of critical literacy (Pickford, 2014). Critical literacy activities in the classroom are vital because they encourage critical thinking for both teachers and students, enabling them to question the social, political and economic background of the texts they confront and understand the physical and virtual world in which they live (Beck, 2005). However, it is not clear if initial teacher education in PNG is adequately preparing preservice teachers well to foster critical literacy in schools. Primary and secondary school teachers in Papua New Guinea need to be adequately prepared with the necessary skills to foster critical literacy in their classrooms.

 Moving into the 21st century, the expectations of literacy education have changed and is subject to contentious debate. Inspired by New Literacy Studies, many scholars and pre-service teacher educators believe literacy education is not just about using written text, but it goes beyond to help students; think creatively, become skilled with technology and develop as global citizens (Burnett & Merchant, 2015). Within this broadening of what is meant by literacy, critical literacy can contribute meaningfully towards political and socio-economical decisions, and further, has the capacity to emancipate society from social injustice (Gregory & Cahill, 2009; Schneider, 2016). However, there are many who advocate for a more traditional approach to literacy – often called a functional approach to literacy.

Teacher educators and preservice teachers in PNG will be recruited to participate in the study that uses a qualitative methodology to investigate how PNG teachers’ colleges and universities prepare pre-service teachers to become critically literate. Recruitment will come from selected primary and secondary school teacher education institutions where participants will be interviewed.

Quality education in Papua New Guinea depends very much on teachers who can think critically and provide challenges for students to be creative and innovative. Educational research is needed to investigate teacher education in Papua New Guinea, specifically in the area of critical literacy in their programs, to understand the experiences of teachers during the process of learning and teaching.


Associate Professor Rhonda Faragher (Principal Supervisor);

Dr Katherine McLay (Associate Supervisor);

Associate Professor Garth Stahl (Associate Supervisor)


Chair - Dr Obaid Hamid

Panel Member - Professor Robyn Gillies

Date: 26/11/2020                                           Time: 10:30 am 

All HDR candidates and advisors are welcome to attend Kele's presentation via Zoom:

Zoom link: