Calling All Educators: Culture Matters

Calling All Educators: Culture Matters

Kamehameha Schools is inviting all educators to its first Culture-Based Education Conference and Hawaiian Education Summit to explore the value of culture in learning.

“It’s looking at culture as a focus or lens through which we approach the teaching and learning process. And a way to bring context to learning that utilizes and recognizes one’s own cultural identity and awareness. And in our particular case it’s Hawaiian culture,” said Aaron Mersberg, Program Manager of Kauhale Kīpaipai at Kamehameha Schools.

“Waiwai ka hoʻohana ʻana i ka moʻomeheu Hawaiʻi ma ka hoʻonaʻauao ʻana i nā keiki no ka mea he mea ia ai e hoʻopili i nā mea e aʻo ʻia ana i nā keiki i hiki ke ʻike i ko lākou mau ola i loko nō ia mau mea ka makemakika hoʻi, ka ʻepekema hoʻi, ka makau ʻōlelo. ”

According to Kauhale Kīpaipai educational officer Kuʻulei Makua, “There is value in learning through culture because children can see identity concepts in their own lives. So difficult topics like math, science, and language arts are grasped more easily if children can relate and apply them.”

“Our purpose I think in having and convening this conference is to provide a venue for different practitioners to come together and share their knowledge, to share their ʻike because the main barrier that we’ve found for many people that are intrigued by the idea of trying to utilize some of these strategies is just not knowing how. And so giving an opportunity for people to share what has worked, what is working, and what can be done I think is really vital,” said Mersberg.

The conference will feature leaders from various learning institutions including charter schools, non-profit organizations, and community foundations.

According to Mersberg, “We’re looking for educators in the broadest sense of the term. It’s not just school, It’s not just one particular place. But all of the various ways that children learn is really important. And so anyone that has a role to play in the life of a child learner can be a part of this conference. What we recognize then is there are so many different people doing so many different things, and we need an opportunity to convene. And then to even think about how we use that as a way to help transform others and to provide that to others.”

Attendees will also have the opportunity to take part in Moenahā workshops, which is a Hawaiian culture-based framework for teaching and and learning that was developed by Dr. Keiki Kawaiʻaeʻa of UH-Hilo.

“ʻO ka mea nui ka aʻo ʻana aku i nā keiki ma o nā mea Hawaiʻi ma o ke kuanaʻike Hawaiʻi, nā loina Hawaiʻi, nā papahana Hawaiʻi i mea e hoʻopilipili ai ia mau mea i nā keiki.”

For Makua, “This is a way of furthering the success of Hawaiian children.”

“We’ve come a long way in terms of the practices that have started to change and effect change. And we want to bring people together to celebrate that and acknowledge that, but to look forward with an eye towards how do we now use that as a way of building momentum to actually lift our children up as we look at our future generations,” stated Mersberg.

The conference runs from July 8-10 at the Hawaii Convention Center. For more information and to register, visit

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