By completing a total of three voyages into the Pacific, Cook was able to chart and discover many Islands, among them Hawaii, where he laid the groundwork for the many travelers and fortune seekers. Among the many new arrivals in Hawaii were the missionaries, who came to save the heathens and to spread Christianity on all the islands. Determined to bring about change, the first arrivals from New England saw with dismay the half-naked people who would entertain themselves with songs and dance and would frolic on the beach with complete disregard to “proper” moral. Seeing their Protestant-Calvinist views as ultimately superior, the missionaries took every step possible to alter the Hawaiian custom, prohibiting the wearing of flowers and performance of the hula dance and chant, which were the most important elements of keeping this culture alive.
The contact with the Western world has not only diminished the Hawaiian population, but also altered its culture into a stage of near extinction. It was during the last few decades that the Hawaiians became more aware of their heritage and culture and began to revive the language and reinstate life styles that were almost forgotten.
Among the areas of the Hawaiian culture that are being reborn, is the field of education. Those who believe in the revival of the Native Hawaiian Epistemology are determined to change the current “western” educational system back into the way ancient Hawaiians have taught and learned.
... she thinks of tourism, a “colonial imposition” towards the Hawaiian culture. Trask incorporates ethos, pathos and logos throughout her essay to ... golf courses and businesses change the view of the Hawaiian culture to one known for entertainment purposes. The purpose for ... survival of tourism and the entertainment business of the Hawaiian culture. Trask ends the essay by reemphasizing her logos and ...
Turning the clock of cultural evolution back and reinstating the Hawaiian ways of learning is a helpful tool that insures the survival of the Hawaiian culture, but to substitute the western educational structure with it will lead to an intellectual and economic downfall of the Hawaiian Islands. A combination of both will not only help Hawaii’s future, but also bring back a part of its culture. In order to determine whether or not the reinstatement of the Hawaiian Epistemology as the sole carrier of educational development would be helpful for the overall picture of Hawaii’s future, both systems – Hawaiian and Western – need to be closely evaluated and taken into consideration.
Kimberly Helm’s lecture at the Moloka`i Education Center on January 18, 2001 gave an insight on the field of education. Helm’s lecture is based on Manulani Aluli-Meyer’s publications that handle Native Hawaiian Epistemology as a tool of empowerment for the Hawaiian culture.
In her thesis “Native Hawaiian Epistemology: Contemporary Narratives”, Meyer uses epistemology “as a way of bartering within a wider arena of cultures” and it is about “Hawaiian essence, Hawaiian being, and Hawaiian cultural views of intelligence (p xii).” Her dream is to reinstate an educational system that will see each child as gifted and talented as well as to bring values, spirituality and self-esteem back into educational philosophy and curriculum. According to Meyer, it is important to understand what native peoples believe about their knowledge origins, priorities, context, and exchange, which will eventually lead to the strengthening of the Hawaiian culture. In “Equity & Excellence in Education” Meyer explains the epistemological categories that build a philosophic structure, which demonstrates the clarity and coherence of the indigenous Hawaiian culture. These categories involve spirituality and knowing, cultural nature of the senses, relationship and knowledge, utility and knowledge, words and knowledge, as well as the body/mind question (Vol. 31, No.1, p 22).
According to these categories, “knowledge and spirituality are interwoven into almost every description of how Hawaiians view intellect, skill acquisition, wisdom, learning, knowledge, and understanding (22).” The Hawaiian spirituality does not run conform to any religious structure. It rather suggests recognizing, respecting and honoring the life in all things. By doing so, honoring and respecting our ancestors is a given.
Culture can be referred to as a people’s way of life. It can be used to refer to the way we live and all that goes along with our life. That means that for us to have a life we have to be affiliated to a certain culture or to belong to a certain culture. To be in a certain culture, one has to comply will the cultural values, norms and expectations. Cultural values can be used or rather the term ...
When Meyer talks about the cultural nature of the senses, she emphasizes the fact that the world, to a Hawaiian, is alive. Knowledge has a direct purpose. “How one experiences the environment plays a huge role in how the world is understood and defined, and this experience is nursed and fed via cultural practices, beliefs and values (23).” In addition to this, relationships play another important role in the Hawaiian perception of knowledge. Knowing their family helps the children to understand their place in life. They realize where they come from, who gave them their heritage, and strengthens their standings for the future. Family and history are two aspects within this category, that cannot be torn apart. Without a family there is no history, and without history there is no family. With this knowledge it is easy for the children in the present to grasp their surroundings physically as well as mentally.
Hawaiian Epistemology also revolves around utility-based knowledge. In the Hawaiian culture gaining knowledge for the knowledge’s sake is “a waste of time (24).” Everything learned has to have some use for the daily survival. To know how to heal the sick or what wood to use to create bowls are considered as useful knowledge. This point is linked to the fact that Hawaiians practiced an oral culture, and those things that were passed on were done so verbally and to a limited extent. Being a culture that passes on practices verbally in its own language, the Hawaiians chose and used words carefully in order to relay the true meaning of actions. Empty phrases are not part of the Hawaiian language. Each word has its importance for the generations to follow.
Meyer also shows that intellect is not separated from feeling. Hawaiian philosophy of knowledge recognizes the whole nature of intellect. The body in combination with the culture directs the individual to an intellect that forms a unity of human being and knowledge. “The mind is body and the body is mind (26).
The current System of Education in the Philippines is in the brink of extinction, for a new Education System is being proposed. The existing system of 6 years in Elementary, and 4 years in Secondary before entering Tertiary is being challenged. In fact, a major reform in the Education System is on the horizon, and this shall radically change the way Filipinos are educated. Many queries arise ...
Thinking is not separated from feeling. This idea returns to the cultural nature of the senses, because the “Hawaiians felt the wisdom and experienced intellect (26).”
Meyer believes that “it is time that dead teachers, dead administration, and an intimidating, outdated, sterile system stop killing the children of Hawaii and that teachers and youth work together in a system of educare (personal Interview w/ Aluli-Meyer).” This way of thinking is also shared by David Kekaulike Sing, Ph.D., who states, “Hawaiian education programs should be designed to create programs and activities that are congruent with the home and cultural values of Hawaiians (Sing).”
While the Hawaiian Epistemology finds its roots within the Hawaiian culture, the western system developed out of European cultural patterns. The Western educational structure found its way to Hawaii with the arrival of Captain Cook and those who came afterwards. During its journey half way across the globe, this system withstood cultural influences and remained Western.
A personal interview with Kumu Puanani Johnston, an elementary Teacher at Kula Kaiapuni, revealed that the current school system as it is practiced at Hawaii’s public schools is based on certain Western standards that have evolved throughout the past century to a catalog of general policies that form the basic guideline for schools to develop their own curriculum.
According to the policies of the department of education, a principal executive division, known as the Board of Education (BOE), needs to be present in the state of Hawaii (4).
The role and responsibilities of this board are to develop vision and mission statements and conduct short- and long-term strategic planning.
It is also policy to have sufficient information for making systematic rather than fragmented improvements; the Department of Education has to develop and establish a ‘Comprehensive Assessment and Accountability System’ that integrates information from statewide student-, staff-, school-, and system-evaluations(10).
The Government of India in 2001 launched the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), a nationwide programme to provide universal primary education, thereby encouraging secondary education also. The Center passed The Right to Education Act in 1 April 2010, which guarantees free and compulsory education to every child in the 6-14 age groups. But, the lack of awareness on the requirement of pre-school education ...
The development and operation of the ‘Comprehensive Assessment and Accountability System’ should endeavor to satisfy professional evaluation standards. Children enter school diverse in their physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development, therefore, teaching and learning activities in all primary grades should meet each child’s developmental readiness within Department approved guidelines . Teachers need to appropriately adapt activities based on student data indicative of readiness, which have been obtained through careful observation, interviews of parents, examination of preschool records to ensure that all children learn and make adequate progress. Teachers also have to make every effort, within available resources, to provide for children who demonstrate special interests and skills or exhibit greater than normal difficulty in learning.
The Department of Education has to provide all teachers and school administrators with research-based information about how all children develop and learn, including the interrelatedness and interdependency of children’s physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development (13).
Teacher application of this information secures the likelihood that all children will receive developmentally appropriate education.
As already mentioned, these policies are meant to be a basic guideline for the building of a school specific curriculum. It does not set a strict standard so that all schools become equal. The purpose of these policies is to create an educational system that is similar around the world and enables all students to become a member of any school wherever they end up to enroll. This system makes it easy on the students as well as on the teachers who do not have to adapt to totally new surroundings whenever they transfer.
According to Kata Lee, “standards based education help teachers, parents, communities, and students to achieve their goals within the Western society they live in (1).
This applies to every community where the Western educational system has been integrated, even Hawaii.
After evaluating each educational system, it becomes clear that Hawaii has a special position within the global society. With the desire of the Hawaiians to revive their cultural heritage and without the consequences of having a failing economy by entirely going back to the “old Hawaiian ways”, a combination of both systems needs to be created in order to fulfill both dreams: the acknowledgement of the Native Hawaiian ways of learning to keep the culture alive and the up keeping of the western system to sustain Hawaii’s position in the global society.
Today the American education system is no longer the best in the world. With declining test scores and poor academic achievement, people have questioned whether our current educational system is working for us? On the other side of the Pacific, the situation is totally different. Students of Asian countries achieve higher academic achievements, and they rank at the top on math and science tests. ...
Aluli-Meyer, Manulani. “Native Hawaiian Epistemology: Sites of empowerment and resistance.” Equity & Excellence in Education April 1998, Vol.31, No. 1: 22 –28.
Aluli-Meyer, Manulani. Native Hawaiian Epistemology: Contemporary Narratives.
Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Graduate School of Education 1998 (forthcoming).
Aluli-Meyer, Manulani. Personal interview. November 2, 2001.
Board of Education. “Policies.” Hawaii Online November 2001. Online. Internet.
Johnston, Puanani. Personal interview. October 23, 2001.
Lee, Kata. “What is standards-based education? – Should I even care?” Molokai Dispatch
February/March 2001, Parts I – III.
Sing, David K. “Hawaiian Education: Promoting opportunities or denying access” Ka
Wai Ola O OHA