A study of both private and public schools in Hawaii has found that students of teachers who frequently infuse their lessons with Hawaiian culture-based strategies have higher educational aspirations than students of teachers who don’t.
In the study, 87.9 percent of students of teachers who used culture-based strategies said they expect to graduate from college compared with 73.5 percent of students whose teachers tended not to use such strategies.
Students of teachers using Hawaiian-focused approaches also were more likely to say that many people at school are like family, that they can trust people at their school, and that teachers at their school go out of their way to help them.
The study is based on interviews with 600 teachers, 2.969 students, and 2,264 parents at 62 participating schools, including regular public schools, charter schools, schools with Hawaiian-immersion programs, and the private Kamehameha Schools.
The study is a collaborative effort of the Kamehameha Schools, Hawaii education department, and Na Lei Na’auao, an alliance of Hawaiian-focused public charter schools. The study on student engagement is part of a larger research effort that also aims to answer the question of whether culturally relevant teaching practices have an impact on student achievement.
A version of this article appeared in the April 07, 2010 edition of Education Week as Culture-Based Education