THE POWER OF PLACE IN HAWAI'I: EMBRACING PLACE-BASED GEOSCIENCE EDUCATION
Monday 1:45pm Ritchie Hall: 366
Oral Session Part of Monday A: Course Development to Engage your Students
Daniela Bottjer-Wilson, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Barbara Bruno, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Pavica Srsen, Windward Community College
Donn Viviani, Leeward Community College
Drawing on the importance of place is a powerful tool in geoscience education. However, it raises the question: Can faculty who are not from 'here' effectively develop and implement place-based geoscience curriculum? Across the University of Hawai'i (UH) ten-campus system, most geoscience faculty are not from Hawai'i, while the majority of students are. Geoscience undergraduate courses at UH tend to have a primarily global focus instead of promoting learning that is rooted in local heritage, culture, and environment. That might be an explanation for why relatively few local or Native Hawaiian undergraduates pursue geoscience majors. Recognizing the significance of the 'power of place' in Hawai'i, we are developing and implementing a variety of place-based lessons into an introductory oceanography lecture and lab course (OCN201 and OCN201L) at Kapi'olani, Leeward, and Windward Community Colleges. Across lessons, we deliberately used locally and regionally generated datasets, media articles, scientific research papers, and videos. Classroom-based teaching was reinforced with field trips to encourage students to view science through the lens of traditional Hawaiian values, practices, and knowledge. One of the most successful and thought-provoking experiences was visiting a Hawaiian fishpond where students learned about this unique form of aquaculture that Native Hawaiians developed centuries ago to provide food for their communities. As non-local, non-Native Hawaiian instructors, we lack profound cultural, social, and spiritual ties to Hawai'i. Recognizing this was a serious barrier, we proactively connected with colleagues, students and the community in addition to seeking professional development opportunities in place-based teaching and research. The goal of this presentation is to share lessons learned and best practices with faculty 'outsiders' interested in using place-based curriculum in their geoscience curriculum.