Learning Hawaiian Language and Culture in an Atmosphere of Aloha


Read this article in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi

Photo: Kū Kahakalau
Dr. Kū Kahakalau. – Photo: ‘I‘ini Kahakalau

Submitted by Kū-A-Kanaka

Want to increase your Hawaiian language and culture proficiency in 2023? Then check out EA E-Learning, an interesting and fun way of educating Hawaiians that is at once ancient and modern.

This online way of teaching was developed by Dr. Kū Kahakalau, the first person in the world with a Ph.D. in Indigenous Education. For the past 38 years, Aunty Kū, one of the first certified Hawaiian language teachers, has taught the sonorous mother tongue of her pure Hawaiian grandfather in and out of the classroom to learners of all ages and abilities. As she researched ancient Hawaiian ways of teaching and observed their impact on her students, she realized that the traditional ways of teaching of our ancestors are the best way to teach Hawaiian students today. That is because our ancestors understood that aloha is imperative to our mental and physical welfare, a notion that still holds true today.

Aunty Kū also became one of the first Hawaiian teachers to utilize modern technology to help students become grounded in their traditional knowledge, as well as prepared to succeed in the modern age. In 2017, Aunty Kū and her daughter, ʻIʻini, founded the social enterprise Kū-A-Kanaka, which launched multiple, culture-based EA E-Learning courses this January.

“These courses are perfect for Hawaiians interested in improving their Hawaiian language skills and ancestral knowledge in an atmosphere of aloha,” said Aunty Kū. One of these courses is entitled Paniinoa. “What makes Hawaiian paniinoa a bit complicated is that they differ from English pronouns. Our Paniinoa course allows you to practice Hawaiian pronouns through game-like activities that actually make learning fun.”

Another super fun opportunity for Hawaiian language learners is Hoʻomākaukau ʻAi, a bilingual series teaching how to prepare delicious, healthy Hawaiian food. The first course is called Hoʻomākaukau Kalo, which teaches learners hands-on how to prepare delicious taro dishes.

“ʻIʻini is a great teacher,” reflected a Hoʻomākaukau ʻAi participant. “She showed me how to cook simple, healthy, delicious dishes. She also helped me to start speaking Hawaiian and introduced me to Hawaiian protocol and proverbs.”

Other bilingual EA E-Learning Courses include Moʻolelo Kahiko, which focuses on ancient Hawaiian stories and Nā Waiwai, which explores Hawaiian values. All of these courses require no previous Hawaiian language experience and work well for individuals, as well as families who want to learn Hawaiian together. So if you have a desire to increase your knowledge of Hawaiian language and culture, visit EA E-Learning by Kū-A-Kanaka at www.kuakanaka.com and register for one or more of our fun, interesting EA E-Learning courses. For special group rates for schools and organizations contact Pōlani Kahakalau-Kalima at polani@kuakanaka.com.com.

“Our kūpuna understood that we learn by doing,” Pōlani states. “EA E-learning builds on that foundation by offering learners of all ages a way to learn that is interactive and fun.