Stephanie David-Chapman began working on her final document, “Weaving Creativity, Culture and Indigenous Education,” with the question “How can teachers share ‘i ka olelo ke ola i ka olelo ka make?’ She loosely translates this to be “How can teachers share the life in literacy? How can teachers share the life in words and the death in words? In what ways could teachers have students taste the flavor of words and share the power and intimacy of text?”
Through an action research study with native Hawaiian middle and high school language arts students, Stephanie identified six recommendations on how to use creative teaching strategies to promote student motivation and self-actualization: set the foundation, discover student’s creative appetite, feed appetite, learn the internal library of your students, establish real and genuine relationship, and find a project with purpose and relevance. She applied these strategies to placed-based, project-based and culturally-focused education in Hawaiʻi, which allowed students to channel, direct and develop their own creativity. These creative teaching strategies resulted in an exciting increase in student performance, motivation, skill-building and relationship-building per the pre- and post-class assessments.
This school year Stephanie primarily works as a middle school project teacher. She uses her six recommendations to ground her interdisciplinary curriculum design. This year's project surrounds genealogy, relationship building and community service. Students will take part in a yearlong study of their genealogy, birth stories, and place of birth in order to envision their goals and sense of place for the future. Occasionally, she shares her action research project, findings and observations during school wide professional development and through indigenous education networks around Hawaii.