Kahuawaiola Indigenous Teacher Education Graduate Program Certificate

Coordinator: Kananinohea Mākaʻimoku, M.A.
Email: kananino@hawaii.edu

Associate Professors:

Note: This program is assisted by experts in Hawaiian language and culture from outside the college and by additional faculty drawn from Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language.

For Information Contact:

Ku'ulei Kepa'a
Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelilkōlani
University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
200 W. Kāwili Street
Hilo, Hawaiʻi 96720-4091
Tel: (808) 932-7730
Email: kuulei.kepaa@hawaii.edu

Website: https://www.olelo.hawaii.edu/kwo/

The Graduate Certificate in Kahuawaiola Indigenous Teacher Education (Kahuawaiola) was mandated in Act 315 HRS 304A-1302 by the Hawaiʻi State legislature. Kahuawaiola was established by the University of Hawaiʻi (UH) Board of Regents in 1998 and has been recognized by the UH system as an approved professional education unit since January 1999. Since 2001, Kahuawaiola has functioned as a state approved teacher education program (SATEP) and is the only fully approved and accredited unit established to specifically prepare teachers through Hawaiian for P-12 Hawaiian language education. It is the first and only teacher licensing preparation program taught entirely in the Hawaiian language and is also the first teacher education program taught through an Indigenous language in the United States.

The Graduate Certificate in Kahuawaiola Indigenous Teacher Education (Kahuawaiola) prepares teacher candidates for professional licensure as mauli ola educators who focus on mauli ola Hawaiian language medium contexts. This program also prepares students for other Hawaiian language and culture educational settings. An option is available for Indigenous languages other than Hawaiian contingent upon demand and resources.

Program Description

The Kahuawaiola Hawaiian and Indigenous Teacher Training Program is a three-semester graduate certificate program, delivered primarily through the medium of Hawaiian, specifically designed to prepare Mauli Ola Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian identity nurturing) teachers of the highest quality to teach in Hawaiian language medium schools, Hawaiian language and culture programs in English medium schools, and schools serving students with a strong Hawaiian cultural background. Kahuawaiola is accredited through the State Approval of Teacher Education Programs (SATE) and the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC). Upon successful completion of the program, candidates will have satisfied one of the requirements for initial licensure from the Hawaiʻi Teachers Standards Board. (See Graduation Requirements section for additional requirements for recommendation to the HTSB.) Based on the Hawaiian concepts Ma ka hana ka ʻike (Knowledge comes from direct experience), and Ma mua ka hana, ma hope ka walaʻau (direct experience comes first, discussion comes second), Kahuawaiola places a high value on on-site learning and practicum experience with high performance outcomes. Academics are integrated in a spiraling sequence and holistic indigenous approach both within and outside the classroom for a balance of theory and applied learning situations.

The four program areas of teacher preparation include, 1) Hawaiian language, culture, and values; 2) pedagogical skills; 3) knowledge of content; and 4) development of professional qualities. Kahuawaiola is delivered through a Hawaiian cultural framework of four pale, or phases.

The first pale, Wanaʻao, requires that students accepted into the program have previous experience in teaching and/or curriculum development through the medium of Hawaiian. (See Entrance Requirements section for complete description of work experience requirement.)

The second pale, Kahikole, takes place during the summer. During this foundation phase of teacher training, principles of learning and teaching are integrated with state standards and general educational theory through a philosophy of education, Ke Kumu Honua Mauli Ola, based on Hawaiian traditions. Students learn to integrate Hawaiian culture and pedagogy into all phases of the curriculum and content areas, including differential learning strategies, lesson planning, assessment, classroom management, and other skills necessary for practical application in the third pale. Students carry a total course load of 13 credits during the summer session. Students then invest two full semesters to gain student teaching experience at Hawaiian medium school locations around the state. They are encouraged to return to their home communities for the practicum phases and are supported by a cooperating teacher, regular site visits from clinical faculty, and professional development workshops where the students are given the opportunity to interact with practicing Hawaiian immersion professionals from throughout the state. Students are expected to commit full-time to the practicum experience, which also includes a discussion seminar via HITS (Hawaiʻi Interactive Television System).

The third pale, Kahikū, takes place during the fall semester and focuses on developing teaching skills but includes discussion of broader issues as appropriate. Students carry a total course load of 12 credits during the fall semester which includes both the practicum and seminar.

The fourth pale, Kaulolo, takes place during the spring semester and focuses on mastery of teaching skills and professionalism through extended teaching experiences and seminar support. The seminar focuses on hypothetical situations and long-range goals rather than practical day-to-day situations, although these are also covered when appropriate. In this pale, students acquire the higher-level planning and conceptualization skills necessary for the growth of Hawaiian medium education. During the spring semester, students carry a total course load of 12 credits including both the practicum and seminar.

Evaluation of Hawaiian language proficiency is conducted through tests that evaluate the level of fluency in six areas:

  1. reading comprehension;
  2. aural comprehension;
  3. use of standard orthography in adapting older materials;
  4. translation from English;
  5. composition; and 6. oral language skills demonstrated in an interview.


The mission of the College is to assure the revitalization and continued advancement and growth of the Hawaiian language and mauli ola Hawaiʻi. A thriving Hawaiian language is the means through which the mauli ola Hawaiʻi will once again become commonplace in both traditional and contemporary contexts in Hawaiʻi. The College joins with other Indigenous peoples in the revitalization of their own languages and cultures. Our collective efforts will ensure the furthering of local, national and international initiatives toward establishing language and cultural vibrancy throughout the world.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate advancement in spoken and written Hawaiian with fluency and consistency in all educational contexts, adhering to graduate-level writing standards.
  2. Demonstrate analytical skills and comprehension of content and overall constitution of literary, cultural, and historical Hawaiian language texts.
  3. Examine and articulate the Hawaiian language renormalization movement within the broader context of language revitalization.
  4. Apply knowledge of and skills in the performance of Hawaiian chant, dance, and oratory.
  5. Exhibit leadership in Hawaiian and Indigenous language and culture revitalization in academic and community environments.

Admission Requirements

Applicants will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Completion of the application packet.
  • Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, in a major approved by the Hawaiian Studies Division requiring a minimum of 120 credits, 45 of which are at the 300 level or above.
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 semester credits completed (including post-baccalaureate credits).
  • A minimum GPA of 2.75 in the major.
  • Four years of Hawaiian language with a minimum GPA of 2.75 for the third and fourth years, or permission from the Hawaiian Studies Division based on an evaluation of fluency.
  • Successful completion of one of the following: HWST 111 Hawaiian ʻOhana (3) , HWST 211 Hawaiian Ethnobotany (3) , HWST 213 Hawaiian Ethnozoology (3) ; or permission from the Hawaiian Studies Division based on an evaluation of Hawaiian cultural knowledge and skills.
  • Successful completion of one of the following: HWST 205 Hawaiian Music in Action (2) , KHWS 475 Nā Mele Hula Kahiko (3) , KHWS 476 Nā Mele Hula ʻAuana (3) ; or permission from the Hawaiian Studies Division based on an evaluation of Hawaiian cultural knowledge and skills.
  • Successful completion of KHAW 490 Base-level Fluency Hawn Med Ed (1) Base-level Fluency Hawn Med Ed (1).
  • 50 hours of (paid or volunteer) teaching experience through the medium of Hawaiian, or 30 hours of (paid or volunteer) teaching experience through the medium of Hawaiian and 30 hours of (paid or volunteer) experience in Hawaiian medium curriculum development.
  • Passing scores on the Praxis I exams (reading, writing, and mathematics) or equivalent , and on Praxis II (Subject Assessments) Content Area Exercises or equivalent, relevant to elementary and secondary level licenses which the applicant will seek from the Hawaiʻi Teacher Standards Board. Equivalents are those stated in current Hawaiʻi Teacher Standards Board policy.
  • Interview with Kahuawaiola faculty.

Note: In special circumstances, provisional acceptance may be granted by the selection committee for students who meet some, but not all of the above requirements.

Applying to the Program

Applications will be evaluated on submission of the following required documentation in a timely manner.1 (Application deadline is December 1st)

  • University of Hawaiʻi Application for Admission (including processing fee)
  • Kahuawaiola Admission Application
  • Statement of interest
  • Work Experience Verification form
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Official college/university transcripts (for EACH post-high institution previously attended)
  • Official Praxis I/II scores

1 Applicants accepted into the program will be required to complete additional documentation prior to the start of the summer session, including but not limited to a criminal background check and fingerprinting as required by the state prior to classroom teaching. For more information, contact the Kahuawaiola office.

Program Requirements (37 credits)

Graduation from the program is based on the successful completion of the following requirements:

11 required courses:

  • KED 620A or KED 620E Fdns Hawn & Indig Medium Ed (3)
  • KED 621A or KED 621E Lng Arts Hwn & Indig Medium Ed (2)
  • KED 623A or KED 623E Soc Stud Hwn & Indig Medium Ed (2)
  • KED 625A or KED 625E Phys Ed Hwn & Indig Medium Ed (1)
  • KED 626A or KED 626E Science Hawn & Indig Medium Ed (2)
  • KED 627A or KED 627E Math in Hawn & Indig Medium Ed (2)
  • KED 628A or KED 628E Arts in Hawn & Indig Medium Ed (1)
  • KED 641A or KED 641E Hawn & Indig Medium Fld Exp I (9)
  • KED 642A or KED 642E Hawn & Indig Med Fld Exp I Sem (3)
  • KED 643A or KED 643E Hawn & Indig Medium Fld Exp II (9)
  • KED 644A or KED 644E Hwn & Indig Med Fld Exp II Sem (3)

Minimum grade of 3.0 in all teacher training courses requiring grades.

Academic Status, Progression, and Readmission Policies

Kahuawaiola runs summer, fall, spring and only takes 12 months to complete. Students are expected to maintain full-time status in three consecutive semesters in order to complete the course work, field experiences, and other requirements of the program. There are no elective courses.

Unless so designated, Kahuawaiola courses may not be taken on a “credit/no credit” basis. A 3.0 GPA must be maintained in all courses. A student whose GPA falls below 3.0 may be dismissed from the program. Likewise, a student may be removed from a field experience if it is determined by Kahuawaiola faculty that the student is not making satisfactory progress toward meeting the requirements of the program. Such removal may result in complete dismissal from the program.

Gainful Employment Disclosure

Beginning July 1, 2011, the US Department of Education began requiring colleges to disclose a variety of information for any financial aid eligible program that "prepares students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation". We hope that this information is helpful to our current students and to prospective students as they make their career and educational choices.

The data includes occupations, placement rates, on-time completion rates, average costs and program median loan debt.

Gainful Employment Disclosure for Kahuawaiola Indigenous Teacher Education Program