University of Hawaii

UH approves
Hawaiian-teaching program

The UH-Hilo program certifies
teachers of Hawaiian language

By Rod Thompson

HILO >> A range of scholarships will now be available to student teachers seeking certification from the University of Hawaii at Hilo in the teaching of the Hawaiian language.

The University of Hawaii Board of Regents approved the Kahuawaiola Indigenous Teacher Education Program on Friday.

Groundwork for the program was laid in 1997. Under subsequent approval from the UH-Hilo chancellor, 19 students have since received licenses, but without eligibility for financial assistance, said Hawaiian studies professor Pila Wilson.

A new group is in preparation with 100 inquiries for just 15 spaces in the program, he said.

Students seeking Department of Education licensing must normally take two additional semesters of teacher education following their four-year degree.

In the Kahuawaiola program, students must take three additional semesters, including a summer live-in semester at the Nawahi Hawaiian language school south of Hilo, during which time they speak only Hawaiian, Wilson said.

In exchange for the extra work, the students get extra rewards. Graduates of the program receive three licenses: one to teach Hawaiian in an all-Hawaiian language school, one to teach Hawaiian in an English-language school and a third to teach their major subject, such as secondary school science.

The program is so thorough that it received a perfect score when evaluated in 2001 by the Department of Education.

It is the first teacher-education program in the United States in which all instruction is done in a native language, Wilson said.

The program received a national grant to assist native American education. The parent College of Hawaiian Language is part of a network of indigenous colleges in North America and the Pacific.

University of Hawaii at Hilo

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