Kuleana ʻohana kaiapuni : a story of agency and Hawaiian immersion families

Kukea Shultz, Pohai Liana
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [August 2014]
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While there is a foundation of research highlighting the benefits of bilingual education and native language education, there is only a small amount of research written from the perspective of parents. Furthermore, research written about Hawaiian immersion education, while providing an excellent starting point, typically does not focus on how these families make the decision to enroll their children in Hawaiian medium schools and how they sustain that decision over time. The groundwork has been laid for research that is written from a parents' perspective and can serve to empower Hawaiian immersion parents in their decision making process, but more is needed. As such, the purpose of this study is to explore parental decisions to send their children to Hawaiian immersion, examine the effects of these decisions, and understand what families need to know so that a research and resource base can be developed that will strengthen and grow the Hawaiian language immersion program and increase the number of Hawaiian language speakers for generations to come. Using theories of agency, survivance, and kuleana as a theoretical foundation, in-depth interviews were conducted with Hawaiian immersion families and examined the impact of families sending their children to Hawaiian immersion schools on our families, our children, our language, and our lāhui. By utilizing storytelling, this project became a moʻolelo about the agency of Hawaiian immersion parents, their embrace of a collective kuleana, and what can happen when families are steadfast in the belief of Hawaiʻi first. Research findings offer implications for the future of the Hawaiian immersion program and the preservation of our language, and more broadly, provide insight into how the state can ensure that it lives into its kuleana to the Hawaiian language and lāhui in policy and practice.
Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2014.
Includes bibliographical references.
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Theses for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (University of Hawaii at Manoa). Education.
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