Category Archives: kahua ao moomeheu

Unleashing the Mana

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As Hawaiians, of course we use moʻolelo as a GPS for surviving and thriving in this world. We are all moʻolelo. Here is my presentation to PAMLA Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association 2017 at Chaminade University. I was a last minute add because one of the English professors at UHWO reached out to see if I could offer up a paper in one of the open sections so I saw that Folklore and Mythology was open. This is the moʻolelo of how I used a moʻolelo ka wā kahiko to inform how I was going to create the lashings for the kauhale I was building (middle level secondary teacher education).

It was called Unleashing the Mana from the Goddesses: Lessons from Pele and Hiʻiaka. My notes are here.

The cool part was that one of the professors from Ohio that came specifically to hear my paper talked about it in the evening forum on tales from Kahiki and succinctly said that I would connect with their work because I was talking about teaching teacher preparation in a Hawaiian way which was pretty spot on.

 

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WiPCE 2017

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I am headed to the World Indigenous People’s Conference on Education 2017 in Toronto at the end of this month to talk about nurturing cultural humility in our pre-service teachers. It is a combination of creating a third space within my classroom, using cultural humility and culturally responsive practices to model what I want my students to do in their own placements in the school. Finally, use deep reflection and ancestral knowledge as a way to tap into the kinds of lifelong reflection on practice necessary to nurture cultural humility in these young teachers. I am still working on those questions that will bring about the kinds of reflection that I want, but the semester is coming up in August so I will be able to continue to research. In the meantime, I am sharing my slides here.

WiPCE 2017 presentation.pptx

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What You Get When You Give a Little

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There are people in my life that connect on a level that is spiritual and timeless. The relationship does not need to be stoked and watched and baby’d. It survives on a plane that is metaphoric. One of the people that I have that kind of connection with is Manulani Meyer. She is a mentor to many, a part of many Hawaiian educators’ moʻokūʻauhau, but I am lucky to call her my buddy. Our lives continue to intersect when we most need it to and I try to stay attuned to the wind and movements of the earth so that I can also be that HĀ for her.

I told her that I was having a hard time writing because I would rather write poetry than academic prose and she sent me this.

Lee Irwin, Visionary Worlds: The Making and Unmaking of Reality. (93)

It is not anarchy, but the loss of place and position that threatens so many who would truly live another way, an alternative world. There are many who would give up reason for imagination if they could do so and survive; this is the great need, the driving force behind cultural collapse and struggle.  It is not the “irrational” but the imaginative, the artistic, visionary, and alternate that appeals. Reason has its place, as does language and sensation, but life is far richer, far greater and more alive than reason can reconstruct.  If reason is liberated from its bonds, it will rediscover its union with imagination, vision, artistry and mystical illumination as essential to its own further becoming. Reason illuminated is reason freed from externals and aware of its own illuminating potential. After St. Thomas Aquinas had long finished his Summa Theologica, he had a profound spiritual awakening that took him far beyond the bounds of reason. Asked afterward about all his many labors to write his great work, he replied: “Straw for the fire!”  So it is with the empirical worldview, the positivist stance is preparation for death and transformation, for a great dying and rebirth. There is reason to fear, for many suffer already in their unwillingness to let go, and thereby cause others to suffer.

What is so sacred now:

  • The reason behind “cultural collapse and struggle” is our need to give up imagination for reason in order to make enough to survive.
  • Even if we are able to free ourselves from externals, when we have spiritual awakenings, the large “aha,” we must quantify, qualify, analyze, reason and our laborious thoughts are “straw for the fire.”
  • Perhaps Lee Irwin knew Aunty Minnie Kaʻawaloa of Kalapana who said, “if you no listen, everybody suffer.” She was talking about the fact that the kūpuna from Kalapana were urging the catholic diocese to leave the Painted Church in Kalapana because the Painted Church looked mauka to protect from land and the Kalapana Maunakea Congregational Church was across the street looking makai to protect Kalapana from the ocean. The town had several scares over the years but the lava and tidal waves did not hit Kalapana until the diocese did not listen and moved the Painted Church. Now Kalapana as Aunty Minnie knew it from her youth is gone. So see, everybody suffer.

I guess the struggle is not so much do I listen, but what do I do now that I hear?

Hōʻike as Assessment

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In Hawaiian, hōʻike means to show or exhibit ʻike. The key part of the word is ʻike because with those 4 letters (the ʻokina or glottal stop is its own letter), the complexities of the world rest in that word.

In Hawaiian education, the hōʻike is like the large summative “project” or assessment. The difference though is in the way it is “assessed.” In western education, large summative assessments are usually end of the term or end of unit tests or projects. They are weighed, they are measured, and sometimes found wanting (sorry for the Knight’s Tale muddled reference). In other words, there are points, a lot of points, tied to the assessment. There is a rubric or some clear expectation of what should be in the assessment in order to do the weighing and measuring. There is usually a grade to it and it affects all the other grades that came before.

The hōʻike is not about evaluation. It is about celebration of understanding and learning. It is not about grading. It is about bearing witness to each student’s growth, whether it is large or small. It is about honoring the process and sharing in the learning. It is NOT graded.

I just went to a hōʻike put on by the Malama Learning Center, a non profit STEM educational group that works in West Oʻahu. From their mission and vision statements:

Vision
Mālama Learning Center is a place in West O‘ahu that brings art, science, conservation and culture together to promote sustainable living throughout Hawai‘i. MLC strives to unify area schools, residents and businesses around a shared ethic of caring and conservation.

Mission

To teach and inspire communities to create healthy living environments

To me this is where science teachers go when they retire.

What impressed me about this hōʻike was that there were so many witnesses. The groups presenting their Nānākuli Watershed projects ranged from an honors biology class at Kapolei High School to 6th graders at Ka Waihono o ka Naʻauao. The witnesses were from the schools represented: the two complex area superintendents, principals or vice principals for all of the schools, families, siblings, the students, friends, university folks like me who brought our own students to also bear witness to the potential and magnificence of these students, elders from the area, cultural experts, and sponsors.

What it tells me is that I cannot just use the word hōʻike at the end of my syllabus and leave it open to my students to just share. I need to also encourage them to bring their own witnesses forward. I need to fill the room for my students. That is where the power lies and that is how hōʻike as assessment needs to happen.

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