Third International Conference on the Teaching of Psychology
Harald Barkhoff &
Taupouri Tangaro,
University of Hawai’i at Hilo,
Hilo, Hawai’i, USA

Presentation (ppt)


A growing population of educators who continue the thrust for cultural identity and equity via traditional knowledge, experience the benefits of a place-based educational approach in their teaching. The project “Uluakea”, funded by US Department of Education and conducted by Kipuka Native Hawaiian Student Center at University of Hawai’i at Hilo, aims to enable faculty to teach and research out of a Hawaiian worldview. Therefore, concepts of Hawaiian culture are studied and applied into concepts of modern sciences, such as sport psychology. For an undergraduate Sport Psychology class several Hawaiian concepts such as Lei, Hula, Wahi Pana, Kihei, Chanting, Ka’ao, and Ki’i could be identified and incorporated into the Syllabus. In the study presented here, the Hawaiian concept of Ki’i is applied into imagery in modern sport psychology.

In the Hawaiian language, the word Ki’i means ‘to fetch’, ‘image, picture, doll’, and ‘carved objects used in ritual and ceremony’. In Ka’ao (legend, tale), the word Ki’i embraces all of these meanings simultaneously. Ki’i is an image (natural or fabricated) used in ritual to fetch. The Ki’i (natural or fabricated) of Hawai’i is sacred for a number of reasons:

(1) It was made under ritualized environments (either physical or psychological).

(2) The Ki’i was infused with the life source of the maker her/himself, making the physical Ki’i a living entity with human consciousness.

(3) Ki’i was used in all levels of traditional Hawaiian life to incite, foster, or initiate heightened spirituality.

(4) To desecrate the physical Ki’i was to desecrate its creator, and its ability toward heightening spiritual awareness.

Imagery in modern sport psychology is defined as a symbolic sensory experience that may occur in any sensory mode.

The athletes’ imagery ability is defined as the performers’ ability to form vivid images and to control these images. Thereby, temporal pacing, imagery perspective (internal and external), and imagery outcome seem to be potential factors for successful imagery application in terms of positive performance outcomes.

In the same way a Hawaiian prepared her/himself for example for a Hula performance, an elite athlete like Tiger Woods (Golf) prepares himself for the next shot by physically going through the motion (swing without hitting the ball) and psychologically seeing/imaging himself successfully hitting the ball, including the flight of the ball and then landing of the ball in the intended spot. In both cases Ki’i/imagery is used psychologically for the anticipated physical performance to follow.

When teaching imagery in sport psychology classes in Hawai’i, place-based educational introduction is critical for fostering the learning process of local students familiar with Hawaiian cultural concepts. A first teaching evaluation pertaining to this new approach showed great appreciation, and desire to further extend the content of Hawaiian concepts into the teaching. Learning the new concept of imagery in sport psychology by introducing Ki’i most likely facilitates the learning process as students are able to relate to the basic concept. Furthermore, teaching and applying traditional concepts into modern sciences ensure retention and value of these concepts and the culture.

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© 2008 Victor Karandashev