Hōʻike as Assessment


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:

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.


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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Manu Notes for EDUC210

More notes on scrap paper for the Hawaiian Ways of Knowing in education course from meeting with Manu:

For the main project:

What is the purpose of this exercise?

Will it serve my family?

Will it benefit my community?

(Is it moʻo worthy)

How does it extend the quality of our lives?

How is it sustainable?

“Knowledge that holds function at its center moves our students into action & a better understanding of the roles of history and intention” (57).

We will heal and we will be educated by ʻāina. This is key. We will, once again, be “fed” by the tides, rains, stories of place & people made buoyant because this is how culture survives. Let us shape our school lessons by this ideal and let us shape our lives accordingly.

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#Teachinyourcommunity notes

It is summer and I am trying to put some ideas down and get rid of scraps of paper at the same time. These are notes for block 2 practicum and a way to get students to embrace the idea of teaching in your own community.

Presentation – community

History of your school

What services are provided in your community?

Talk to your mentor teacher in what ways does the community impact your school, your classroom, your students?

How does your mentor or school use the community to enhance the education of your community?

Implications – what does this mean

Describe mentor teacherʻs perspective of their community

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Sustainability w/Manu

Manu Aluli Meyer continues to be my mentor and guide so the fact that she continues to put herself out there, continues to work on new projects is inspiration to me. She just filmed this video podcast and so I am sharing it here. I hope to continue to work on this ‘ike, hōʻike, [k}new knowledge which is old knowledge and logical knowledge.

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Moʻo Poetry

I like using poetry for writing, and not always have to write my own, so part of this project should be about collecting pieces even if I don’t know how I will use it.

This one is by Victor Hugo, he of Les Miserable  and Hunchback of Notre Dame fame. It’s called “June Nights” and it’s June, and the nights have been full of termites, so I want to collect this different look at June

In summer, when day has fled, the plain covered with flowers
Pours out far away an intoxicating scent;
Eyes shut, ears half open to noises,
We only half sleep in a transparent slumber.

The stars are purer, the shade seems pleasanter;
A hazy half-day coulours the eternal dome;
And the sweet pale dawn awaiting her hour
Seems to wander all night at the botom of the sky.


Transformation through art

I am at the AERA conference but decided to use my time learning at the Holocaust Museum and making my way through some of the Smithsonian galleries that I have not visited before until I got to the Native American museum for a late lunch.  At the Sackler Museum of Asian art, there was an instillation called Turquoise Mountain about transforming Murad Khani in Afghanistan (transformation of place and people through art). You were encouraged to touch the woodwork, but I was most drawn to the text and what I could learn from these artists.

I need to do more research around art as methodology but also art as catharsis for cultural trauma.

I donʻt know how I am going to use it, but on entering, there was a video playing and it is about how they were taught to build with concrete, but after the war, the concrete was destroyed; it did not hold up as well as their traditional methods of building with mud and wood. The concrete was poorly made, it was ugly.

Hedayatullah Ahmadzai, head of engineering at Turquoise Mountain says,

When I was a refugee in Pakistan I got a job working on the conservation of historic buildings. It was there that I received my first experience of traditional building design and building techniques. On returning to Afghanistan, I worked in many areas of the country, where people still built their homes using these traditional techniques.

These experiences made me realize what mud and timber can teach us. The people of this land built in mud and timber for thousands of years. The buildings are cool in summer, warm in winter. They are cheaper to build, easy to look after, and beautiful. Why are we forgetting the lessons of our ancestors?

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Kōkua Aku Kōkua Mai

girl and dog

When I am up against deadlines, I find that I constantly learn something about myself as a worker, as a researcher, as a writer, as a person. I was re-reading a Peter Elbow article to prepare for a writing workshop with my student teachers when I came upon one section in Writing Without Teachers where he talks about his process of writing for 45 minutes straight, putting it aside, and the next day writing again. It is a way to let the center of gravity of what you are trying to say bubble up on its own. I decided to try writing for 45 minutes on my article and just see what I was grappling with. Like he said, it was definitely a stream of consciousness mishmash of mostly questions that would hopefully lead me to some kind of direction.

However, instead of sitting on it, I decided at 10:30 at night to send it to a few critical friends who I knew were fast skimmers. What I asked them for was just to point out something poignant, something that piqued their interest as feedback for me and a little more direction from people who had no idea what I was trying to say or not say.

The results this morning were fabulous. The perspectives were different, but I have confirmation of my own thinking and I am challenged to go where I really did not want to go… but now I have to go based on my feedback. I will need to add this to my repertoire of writing process tricks. I will call it kōkua aku, kōkua mai and the trick is really to have handy a few critical friends who are willing to enter into this mutualistic relationship with me.

In Hawaiian, kōkua is to assist. The aku and mai are directional markers, so aku is away from the speaker and mai is toward the speaker. It is a mutualistic relationship because when help is asked for, give it, and when help is needed, ask. It forces me to set ego and vulnerability aside, but also to jump when the same is asked of me. If that is how the world always worked, we would have a really great world.

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Why I Will Sit at the Bar


I hate going to conferences because I am by nature an introvert, however, I love going to conferences because learning is life sustaining. I am also a teacher, and if you have any experience with teachers, they are pack beings. Unless I am bringing teachers to a conference, which means that I am responsible for them, I prefer to be a loner. I find that I tend to meet the people who are most interesting to me by being untethered to a group.

My preferred dinner dining when I am alone, then, is to sit at the bar to eat, so tonight I crossed the hotel’s sky bridge to sit at the bar of a dim sum establishment. A young Caribbean woman, Clara, sat down at the same time and we sat next to each other. It was the most intimate conversation I have ever had with a stranger, and it was stress free, we shared food, and it was nice. She is soon to be a single parent of a fabulous 9 year old daughter. She is studying for her pharmacy boards and has been in Washington for 4 years. We both are patient when our plans go awry because we have the big picture view that life happens for the best when it happens in its own time.

I sometimes would rather write on my computer than venture out into the world alone, but tonight’s dinner really brought home the fact that I need to sit at the bar more often.

Finding the Discipline to Read


I had the chancellor of our university talk to my introduction to teaching class this week and one of the things that she did when she was preparing for her doctoral exams was she read a textbook a day and although she felt like nothing was going in, when she took her exams (with her IBM selectric borrowed typewriter with a bottle of whiteout), suddenly all that reading came together. She says now she can read an article once and things start to click and she can quickly come up with questions and comments.

I am a horrendously slow reader and my vocabulary does not belie my degree or the fact that I am a 23 year veteran English language arts teacher with a BA in English literature and three years experience teaching advanced placement language and rhetoric. As an example, I know that hegemony is a word that I need to own because of where I place my research work, however, I have to keep asking Google to pronounce it. So no, I do not own hegemony. I use the words Hawaiian ways of knowing so I do not have to use the word epistemology.

But I want to/need to be smarter, not because I am trying to be more western in research and thought, but just because I need to be smarter. This is day 2 of my reading a professional article. I have to admit that yesterday my article took what felt like all morning. I decided I needed to get up earlier, so this morning I woke up at 4:30 but who wants to read a professional article at 4:30 in the morning?

The organization of the article is key. Where do I put it and what do I do with it. Today’s article was a possible article for my literature review course I am teaching this summer. I decided not to use it as a reading, but to share the key points in a PPT instead. When it is as simple as that, I decided to put the article already highlighted, plus my little note about how I am using it into my Evernote. Yesterday’s article was more related to my possible paper for AERA so I have it on my Google Drive research resources sheet, plus the original and the highlighted versions are on my Evernote.

I am not the most intuitive organizer, but that is what I am trying so far.

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Taking Advantage of FREE

ao makua

Manuwahi (free of charge) is always a welcome perk and I always feel like knowledge freely given is even more precious and must be passed on.

From now until December 15, the Kamehameha Schools Distance Learning program is offering two free online courses for adults. Register here to sign up for one or both of these courses by setting up your account and adding the courses to your cart.

First, set sail with us in Nā ‘Imi Loa: The Explorers and trace the history and craft of Hawaiian ocean voyaging, from its origins and earliest traditions, to the contemporary, worldwide voyage of Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia through interactive tutorials, documentaries and activities designed for the whole family!

Course runs January 11 – 29.
Watch the video » | Register by December 15 »

Then, plant your feet firmly on land with Mālama ʻĀina and discover traditional ways Hawaiians lived to allow for preservation and sustainability. Learn why Hawaiians revere the ʻāina and be inspired to apply the knowledge and concepts from the course to your own everyday life just in time for Earth Day!

Course runs April 11 – 29.
Watch the video » | Register by March 15 »