Aloha! It has been an eventful few days in Honolulu. On Friday we had the pleasure of meeting with John Osorio, a professor at the University of Hawaii. He educated us on the culture and history of Hawaii through song, as he is a very talented singer. Many of the songs sung in the lecture conveyed strong cultural meaning to the native Hawaiian people. These songs are often used in popular movies, but John stressed how when used out of context they do not embrace the culture behind the songs.
Saturday we had an early start to the day in order to beat the large crowds to Pearl Harbor. While there, we walked through the museum, viewed the submarine and torpedos, and toured the USS Arizona monument. This monument pays tribute to the over 1,700 men who sacrificed their lives when Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese. The ship lays below the monument and entombs many of these honorable men. We then drove to Aloha Stadium where on the weekends a large swap meet occurs. Here we were able to buy souvenirs at nontourist prices.
Sunday we enjoyed a free day exploring Honolulu, enjoying the sunshine, and finishing up our weekly critical responses.
Monday the group was able to tour Kamehameha School, a private school system in Hawaii established by the Bernice Pauhai Bishop Estate. While there, we spoke with the curriculum director of the high school. Kamehameha serves as a school for only partially or fully native Hawaiian children and has the possibility for boarding in grades 7 and up. The school places a large focus on speaking Hawaiian language and learning native Hawaiian culture. In the afternoon, we were able to hike up Diamond Head where there were great views of Honolulu and the ocean at the top.
Yesterday, we spent the day in Chinatown. We were able to eat lunch as a group at Little Village Chinese Restaurant. After lunch, Dr. Hal Warren, an urban geographer, gave us a walking tour of Chinatown. He explained the architecture present as well as the many different local businesses that have appeared as a result of waves of immigration into Hawaii. Following the tour, we had a lecture and discussion with Lee Tounouchi, an advocate of the Hawaiian pidgin language. We learned about the negative attitudes toward pidgin in the schools and public.
Today we were able to tour two local schools. In the morning we visited Myron B. Thompson Academy, a public charter school which does the majority of their teaching online. This enables a different education environment for those who have anxiety and other problems related to being in a large classroom setting. This allows students to have an improved skill set in technology and typing that could benefit them in their future educational paths. After lunch, we took a tour of Punahou School, an elite private college preparatory school. The school educates children from kindergarten all the way through 12th grade and has around 3,700 students total. Throughout the tour we were able to see many of their new innovations, including spaces for robotics, Hawaiian studies, makeries, and the woodshop, available to students.
Tomorrow and Friday we will all be going to different schools in the area to observe and participate in classroom activities. We are so excited to interact with the local children and learn about the curriculum and policies present on this island!