Kahuawaiola Indigenous Teacher Education Graduate Program Certificate

This is content from the Catalog 2019–2020 back issue. Please visit the current catalog for current information.

Coordinator: Makalapua Alencastre, Ed.D
Email: kaawa@hawaii.edu


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: http://www.olelo.hawaii.edu/kwo/

Program Description

The Kahuawaiola Hawaiian and Indigenous Teacher Education 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 Kahuawaiola is to prepare "Mauli Ola Hawaiʻi" teachers of the highest quality, who are grounded in Hawaiian language and culture, to serve in Hawaiian language medium schools, in Hawaiian language and culture programs in English medium schools, and in schools serving students with a strong Hawaiian cultural background.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. ʻIke ʻŌlelo: Demonstrate Hawaiian language proficiency within multiple contexts of the learning environment.
  2. ʻIke Mauli Ola Lāhui: Fosters a Hawaiian cultural identity through effective culture-based methods.
  3. ʻIke Hoʻokō: Utilizes consistent self-evaluation and improvement practices and creates learning experiences which guides students' towards academic, social, and cultural excellence.
  4. ʻIke Pilina: Cultivates respect and nurtures relationships that connect the school, families, and community.
  5. ʻIke Honua: Creates and maintains civic responsibility for culturally responsive, safe and nurturing learning environments.
  6. ʻIke Naʻauao: Seeks out, maintains and utilizes Hawaiian educational processes, knowledge, perspectives and experiences for the benefit of all students.
  7. ʻIke Pikoʻu: Exhibits a heartfelt love for teaching and a sincere desire for pursuing high professional standards of excellence and ongoing improvement.
  8. ʻIke Kuanaʻike: Cultivates multiple perspectives that foster an appreciation for diverse worldviews through a Hawaiian lens.
  9. ʻIke Ola Pono: Embraces healthy well-rounded and responsible practices as a role model for students.

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 Na Mele Hula Kahiko (3) , KHWS 476 Na Mele Hula 'Auana (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 Hawai‘i 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 620 Fdns Hawn & Indig Medium Ed (3)
  • KED 621 Lng Arts Hwn & Indig Medium Ed (2)
  • KED 623 Soc Stud Hwn & Indig Medium Ed (2)
  • KED 625 Phys Ed Hwn & Indig Medium Ed (1)
  • KED 626 Science Hawn & Indig Medium Ed (2)
  • KED 627 Math in Hawn & Indig Medium Ed (2)
  • KED 628 Arts in Hawn & Indig Medium Ed (1)
  • KED 641 Hawn & Indig Medium Fld Exp I (9)
  • KED 642 Hawn & Indig Med Fld Exp I Sem (3)
  • KED 643 Hawn & Indig Medium Fld Exp II (9)
  • KED 644 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