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FORUM: Communicating Science with a Hawaiian Sense of Place: The Critical Role of Teachers in Curriculum Development and Impementation in Schools and Communities
WEDNESDAY, August 1, 3:20 - 4:20 p.m.
Ballroom BC

Our work as school and community-based science educators is informed by our place, Hawai‘i, where responding to changing conditions with an ethic of care, mâlama, and responsibility, kuleana, historically supported resilience and sustainability. But science with a Hawaiian sense of place, described by Maly (2001) as "the intimate relationship...that people of a particular culture feel for the sites, features, phenomena, and natural resources etc. that surround them" goes against the grain of educational views that led to the removal of the Hawai‘i State science content standard, "Mâlama I Ka ‘Âina, Sustainability." Countering this move, teacher-led science programs addressing the 4 Rs of rigor (science content), relevance (place-based issues), relationships (connecting school and community) and responsibility (mâlama, kuleana) have developed under Native Hawaiian Education Act awards. Kulia I Ka Nu'u teachers' programs reflect research findings that "cultural practices encourage and sustain certain kinds of cognitive processes, which then perpetuate the cultural practices" (Nisbett & Norenzayan, 2002). Project director and 7 Site Teachers from 5 islands describe place-based science programs that connect learning to culture and community-based knowledge, practices, and issues. They establish school-community partnerships to support their work (growing native plants, removing alien species, monitoring and restoring coastal and terrestrial ecosystems), provide professional expertise, introduce students to future careers, and multiply limited resources. Their programs support problem solving, systems thinking, civic engagement, and "place-based' understanding of the interactions between environment and society" (National Research Council, 1999).

Chair: Pauline Chinn