Top Teachers

Saturday, February 20, 1999

Name: Norma Chun
Age: 55
Position: music specialist at Iolani School
Education: UH
Pastimes: sewing, gardening, singing

Making music of learning

Norma Chun has always been encouraged to dream.

A teacher is only as good as the support she gets from school administrators, said Chun, who's in her 19th year teaching music for grades K through 5 at Iolani School. She said she feels lucky.

Nine years ago, school administrators gave Chun the opportunity to work with an architect to design the Lower School music room. More recently, she finished putting together the hymnal book, "Iolani Sings," a collection of her students' favorite Christian songs.

For the past 12 years, she has developed the Orff Schulwerk process, which teaches students how to unleash their creativity by integrating language, movement, singing and playing instruments in a non-threatening atmosphere.

Music is essential for child development, Chun said. "To me, it's just as important as science, math and reading," because studies show that children exposed to rhythm and beat at an early age tend to become better readers.

Chun is well-respected by her colleagues for her wealth of knowledge, said Curtis Abe, chairman of Iolani's performing arts department.

She continues to go to workshops and keeps herself well-read on the latest information about music education.

"She's very dedicated to her profession," Abe said.

By Shirley Iida, Star-Bulletin

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