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Culture & Place-Based Learning

Ho‛okāko‛o’s model and framework for innovations are based on research demonstrating that culturally relevant teaching and learning significantly increase the socio-emotional development and educational outcomes of students.


Native Hawaiian teaching and learning recognize that living is learning and learning is life. Children learn by doing and applying what they have been taught to their everyday life.


Through project-based learning, students learn from hands-on and real life experiences. Teachers, kupuna (elders) and 'ohana take children on excursions to traditional sacred sites (wahi pana), taro patches, forests, agricultural farms, and the ocean, connecting with the land to find the source of life and their learning. Projects provide students with opportunities to practice what they have learned, including how to work together as a team, how to be respectful and how to share.


Through place-based learning, students: learn about their genealogy and their connections with their ancestors; continuously explore the questions: Who am I? What is my purpose? Why am I here?; and learn beyond the classroom and in the community where they live. Once connected to a sense of place, students have the foundation to explore all parts of themselves and their world.


Cross Cultural and Global Connections

Native Hawaiian teaching and learning recognizes that cultural values, beliefs and traditions are transferable knowledge, skills and attitudes that promote cross cultural connections and global learning. They weave, haku, the essence of Hawaiian culture with non-Hawaiian values, beliefs and practices, enabling children to move between the realities and future of a global society.


Learning opportunities empower students to use and apply indigenous knowledge and practices to create innovations and solutions for today’s realities and challenges; and leadership and community service provide opportunities for students to contribute and give back to their local and global communities


Exhibitions and performances, ho‛ike, are an integral component of Hawaiian teaching and learning. Authentic assessments of learning that are aligned with post-secondary education and workplace performance expectations promote student engagement and accountability for learning.


Schools provide an array of opportunities for students to demonstrate what they have learned and achieved and are provided feedback from elders and experts, including portfolio defenses, exhibitions and reviews of student work products.  Summative and formative assessments of student academic learning are aligned with and promote college and career readiness.

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