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Monday, August 7, 2017

Hawaiian Social and Cultural Sensitivity

Aloha Everyone,

Our son Jeff is starting his new semester as a Social Studies teacher at Nanakuli High School. The school is located in the Nanakuli Valley and its student body are predominantly native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders.

Teachers are required to report a week earlier than students and as part of the preparation, Jeff attended a lecture given by Dr. Manulani Aluli Meyer.

Jeff shared with us his reaction to what he said was an outstanding presentation. Although Jeff had finished Elementary, Middle and High School in Hawaii, his educational and cultural outlook had been from a Western view.

It is normal in the Western society to expect students to address their teacher with the proper title of Mr., Mrs. or Miss. But in Hawaiian culture such titles carry different weight and meaning. After attending this presentation by Dr, Aluli Meyer, Jeff plans to discuss and offer 4 different options in how to address him. They can call him Kumu, Uncle, Coach, or Mister. What an incredible opportunity for a teacher to learn and grow along  with his students.

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Aloha -- Cathi