Tok stori as pedagogy: an approach to school leadership education in Solomon Islands


  • Kabini Sanga Victoria University of Wellington
  • Martyn Reynolds Victoria University of Wellington
  • Stanley Houma The University of the South Pacific
  • Jack Maebuta Solomon Islands National University



Donor aid, leadership education, orality, relationality, Solomon Islands, Tok stori



Tok stori is a Melanesian form of dialogical engagement. Although it has been generally associated with informal activities, this article points to the potential of tok stori as a pedagogical or teaching process. Set in a school leadership programme spread across the Solomon Islands, the discussion illustrates the value of approaching the education of school leaders through their own experiences and in a manner to which they are accustomed. Data are drawn from the stories of programme mentors. Of particular relevance are the relational implications of tok stori as these frame learning, the kinds of learning facilitated by tok stori, gender and the restricted nature of some knowledge, and the openness of tok stori to encourage and promote learning beyond the initial scope of a programme. Although tok stori can be informal, the data suggest that effective professional learning can take place through tok stori as pedagogy. As one amongst a number of traditional oral forms across the region and beyond, the claims made for tok stori in this context provide further support for the inclusion of Indigenous approaches to development work in and beyond Solomon Islands. This is important if development aid is to move to a new level of efficacy.


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How to Cite

Sanga, K., Reynolds, M., Houma, S., & Maebuta, J. (2020). Tok stori as pedagogy: an approach to school leadership education in Solomon Islands. The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 50(2), 377–384.