A Cultural Approach to Education via Master Plan Culture, Education, and Community Leaders

Date
2016-05
Authors
Ybarra, Edmound
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Abstract
For decades, native Hawaiian public schools have been at the bottom of the national educational ladder. As Hawaiʻi’s education system progresses into the 21st century, there is need for contemporary education to address and support the annual intake of 70,000 school children. Twentieth century curricula is based solely on what we learn and fails to focus on how we learn. Contemporary educational environments in Hawaiʻi need to differentiate from that of the 20th century to provide quality education to our youth. By integrating technological advancements and innovative teaching methods in which are driven by cultural awareness, the contemporary education system will provide our children with the learning environments that suit their individual learning behavior, thus paving the way for community growth and future prosperity for Hawaiian children. Hawaiʻi is unique, as it is sensitive to its place, heritage, and people. All of which are factors that are rooted in its distant cultural past. Culture-based education research states that cultural and ethnic identity builds self-esteem and confidence – leading to resiliency among youth and adults. The culture-based education model seeks to mobilize this growing body of knowledge of improving the educational outcomes of individuals, families, and communities. Hawaiian-focused charter schools are innovators in the development of experiential and place-based learning, and are the leaders in focusing on cultural identity as the foundation for social and emotional well-being. Culture is the continuity of unique languages and practices, thus strengthening familial social connections and support systems.1 Therefore, the integration of cultural awareness into educational spaces within the architectural design process would improve how we learn. This integration transforms current learning environments that extend beyond the traditional classroom by embracing its surrounding landscape, resulting in the development of an innovative education curriculum. This thesis explores a culturally informed conceptual master plan for a hybridized educational model that merges traditional Hawaiian worldviews, guiding principles, values, and learning styles into the contemporary context.
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