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Linking Language & Well-Being: Transforming Teaching at the Intersection of Hawaiian Places, Practices, Values, and Language

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Title: Linking Language & Well-Being: Transforming Teaching at the Intersection of Hawaiian Places, Practices, Values, and Language
Authors: Chinn, Pauline W. U.
Nogelmeier, M. Puakea
Businger, Steven
Rowland, Scott K.
Makepa-Foley, Emmalani
show 3 moreLance, Kelly
Sewell, Haunani
Wong, Chanel

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Issue Date: 02 Mar 2017
Description: “Transforming Teaching” reports on year 1 of a 2-year DR-K12, NSF funded professional development (PD) research project asking if transforming STEM instruction to intersect with Native Hawaiian culture supports underrepresented Native Hawaiian students’ interest and learning in STEM (NCES, 2011). The project design applies theories of structure and agency (Sewell, 1992) and cultural funds of knowledge (Moll, Amanti, Neff, & Gonzalez, 1992) to explicitly intersect Hawaiian and western knowledge and culture. Teachers researched their ahupua‘a for cultural, historical, and STEM resources relevant to place-based lessons for their students and communities because place-based knowledge of diverse topographies and ecosystems was critical to Hawaiian sustainability, well-being, and identity. Educational innovations e.g., a database of Hawaiian language newspaper articles, the Institute for Hawaiian Language Research and Translation and the Hawai‘i Dept. of Education’s adoption of Next Generation Science Standards provide new resources for designing STEAM curricula (inclusive of arts) through the lenses of culture and place. Nā Hopena A‘o (HIDOE, 2015), six general learner outcomes reflecting Hawaiian values provided assessments associated with belonging, responsibility, excellence, aloha, total wellbeing and Hawai‘i. Data sources include student surveys, teachers’ reflective writings, lessons, student work, and assessments guided by Na Hopena A‘o. Lessons on native and invasive species and sustainability show 4-8th graders learned key Hawaiian and technical terms, understood and critiqued the impact of humans and invasive species on Hawaiian ecosystems, and recognized values underlying sustainability. Surveys applying Nā Hopena A’o showed the great majority of 6th and 7th graders in two O‘ahu schools reported their learning activities led to positive outcomes. In a 4th grade class where 22 students identified their ethnicities, the 6 Native Hawaiian students were more interested in taking STEM and Hawaiian culture/language courses, more concerned about invasive species and culturally important plant and animals, but less able to connect school and family activities than their non-Hawaiian peers. However, students generally agreed (n=14) that science should be taught “outdoors” “to be more interesting.” Findings suggest place-based PD explicitly integrating Western and Hawaiian STEM systems contributes to equity in STEM education and well-being of children in Hawaii’s schools. Further research with a second cohort of teachers will expand grades and numbers of students surveyed to refine first year findings and guide future PD oriented to transforming teachers’ practices towards equitable STEM education and greater sense of well-being for Native Hawaiians, the largest ethnic group in Hawai‘i’s K-12 schools. References: Hawai‘i State Department of Education (2015, Nov.). Nā Hopena A‘o Statements. Retrieved from Moll, L.C., Amanti, C., Neff, D., & Gonzalez, N. (1992). Funds of Knowledge for Teaching: Using a Qualitative Approach to Connect Homes and Classrooms. Theory into Practice, Qualitative Issues in Educational Research, 31, 2, 132-141. National Center for Education Statistics (2011, Dec.). Comparing the Achievement Patterns of Native Hawaiian and Non-Native Hawaiian Grade 8 Students in Reading and Math. Retrieved from Sewell, W. Jr. (1992). A Theory of Structure: Duality, Agency, and Transformation. American Journal of Sociology, 98, 1, 1-29.
Appears in Collections:5th International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC)

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