This summer, seven Kamehameha Schools educators embarked on a huakaʻi to Kahoʻolawe, as part of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Aloha ʻĀina Master of Education in Curriculum Studies program. The 30-credit program, offered through the UH College of Education’s Aloha Kumu hui, was customized for KS educators to focus on aloha ʻāina as a foundation for relationships, education, leadership, well-being and research.
The course, titled “Kui i Ka Lei Aloha ʻĀina,” immersed the kumu in experiential ʻāina-based learning that explored aloha ʻāina education and leadership practices. The four-day huakaʻi to Kahoʻolawe was a key component of the course, showing the role of Kahoʻolawe in aloha ʻāina.
The educators in the cohort included KS Kapālama High School Hawaiian history and culture kumu Steven Cup-Choy, KSK High School Hawaiian language kumu Līhau Gouveia, KSK Middle School nohona Hawaiʻi kumu Mālia Kāne, KSK High School AP world history/AP psychology/Hawaiian history kumu Jay Kauka, Kūamahi Community Education Program Director Mikie Medeiros, KSK High School mathematics/Kauhale Program kumu Jacob Pacarro, and KSK Middle School choral music kumu Mia-Amor Porreca.
In preparation for the huakaʻi, the kumu learned about Kahoʻolawe’s unique history and its place in the Aloha ʻĀina narrative. This included learning relevant moʻolelo, oli, mele, and engaging with Protect Kahoʻolawe ʻOhana (PKO) guest speakers, including Dr. Emmett Aluli of Molokaʻi, who landed on Kahoʻolawe in 1976 as part of the “first nine” to protest the bombing being done by the United States military at the time.
While there, the kumu dyed kīhei at Kūnaka, gave hoʻokupu at Koʻa Nāulu, observed the channels from Moa ʻUla ʻIki, planted ‘uala in Lua Makika, built planters on the hard pan of Naʻalapa and drank ʻawa at Honokanaiʻa. These activities further cultivated their relationship with the ʻāina and their understanding of Kahoʻolawe’s role as Kanaloa in Hawaiʻi.
After the trip, each kumu worked through critical analysis and creative expression to articulate the impact the Kahoʻolawe Aloha ʻĀina experience will play in their kuleana as educators, leaders, and in other roles in which they serve.
This second cohort of Aloha ʻĀina kumu started in the fall of 2016, with two classes, for six total credits, for five consecutive semesters (including summer 2017). They will graduate in the spring of 2018.
The first cohort of the Aloha ʻĀina Master’s of Education in Curriculum Studies included seven KS kumu, all from the KS Kapālama Elementary School. That program, which completed in the summer of 2016, gave experiences that helped them deepen their understanding and perspectives and put together stories for the school’s fifth grade play.
Reflections from course participants and instructors
“We cannot forget the criticisms and early struggles that Kahoʻolawe faced even from our own lāhui. Yet today it serves as one of our shining examples of victory. This is a valuable lesson to all of us that despite being critical of each other, having a united focus will always triumph.”
-- Līhau Gouveia, KS Kapālama High School Hawaiian language kumu
“Kahoʻolawe is a rugged and damaged place that has been through rich Hawaiian history, horrific destruction and beautiful restoration. Kahoʻolawe provides us with a plethora of learning opportunities, and for some people, learning from the island will change their life work. The island has created educators, scientists, cultural practitioners, artists, legal ‘guardians,’ historians, UXO specialists, and much more. Visiting Kanaloa is an important experience for all Hawaiians, including kumu and haumāna.
“One thing that I continue to reflect on from our visit to Hanakanaiʻa is the impact of how we teach culturally-significant content. Take history, for example. As kumu, we could all teach the same exact facts, but the way in which we present it to students will make a huge impact on their learning. Am I presenting the content in a pono way?”
-- Malia Kane, KS Kapālama Middle School Nohona Hawaiʻi kumu
“As an educator, my objective now is to help students find their ‘Kahoʻolawe.’ Although it would be ideal to have all of my students experience first-hand, all of what the island has to offer, financially and logistically, this would be nearly impossible. Thus, my kuleana is to now help haumāna find ‘Kahoʻolawes’ of their own. Whether it be Mākua, Waipiʻo Valley, Nā Wai Ehā or Hanalei, establishing a strong connection to a place, its history, its moʻolelo and its people will help our haumāna rediscover the attributes of our ancestors and encourage them to engage in the process of raising our lāhui to higher levels.”
-- Jacob Pacarro, KS Kapālama High School Math/Kauhale Program kumu
“My commitment to developing an understanding of aloha ʻāina in my students is deepened from my experience on Kahoʻolawe. My understanding that experiences can draw us into new understandings inspires me to cultivate more effective experiences with them. I feel a renewed sense of urgency and importance to my work as an educator, and my hopes for my students.”
-- Mia-Amor Porreca, KS Kapālama Middle School choral music kumu
“Impact from this course comes from connecting to the ʻāina. The theory and value of aloha ʻāina cannot be removed from the ʻāina. The impact is the connection you know only by being, working, and learning from the ʻāina – the ʻāina on which our kūpuna stand and the ʻāina on which our moʻopuna will.
“As I think about the impact this course and huakaʻi to Kanaloa has had on our kumu so far, and imagine the affect that will result as they transfer what they learned into their classroom practice, it becomes clear that these types of professional learning opportunities are directly aligned with what we aspire for our educators and haumāna. Definite links can be made to our KS E Ola! Learner Outcomes, such as ʻike kūpuna, aloha ʻāina, alakaʻi lawelawe, problem-solving, and innovation and creativity.
“Success of the course can be attributed in large part to collaboration, internally between Hoʻolaukoa and Hoʻokahua, as well as externally with the UH Mānoa Aloha Kumu Program, Protect Kahoʻolawe ʻOhana and Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission.”
-- KS Ho‘olaukoa Senior Design Specialist Arianne Chock and KS Cultural Specialist Kalama Chock, Kui i Ka Lei Aloha ʻĀina course instructors
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