NURTURING THE GIFTS OF HAWAIIAN CHILDREN

 The literature on culturally diverse gifted students verifies the under representation of groups such as Hawaiians in gifted and talented programs. The issues of the under representation of Hawaiian students in gifted programs in Hawai'i correlate with the information of other culturally diverse populations. More successful efforts to develop culturally appropriate identification procedures for these groups are needed.

The procedures for identifying gifted and talented Hawaiian students for participation in Center programs have national and statewide implications.

Center identification procedures focus on culturally sensitive ways of allowing students to demonstrate their giftedness. The Center's distinctiveness and uniqueness is not found in the definition of giftedness and talent alone, but also, in the development and implementation of these assessment procedures and programming opportunities.

The procedures which impact Hawaiian children positively in the selection process are:

  • Sources of nominations vary depending on the program activity. Self and peer nomination are used when appropriate.
  • Level of interest and potential is considered as well as demonstrated level of performance.
  • Achievement scores, while important for specific purposes, are not the only or most valued standard for selection.
  • The application process allows applicants to exhibit their giftedness in culturally relevant contexts and settings.
  • Where appropriate, the inclusion of an interview, audition, product presentation, and problem-solving opportunities are part of the assessment process and selection.
  • A wide range of programs are offered that include visual and performing arts; psychomotor activities; Hawaiian culture, values, language and history; and other specialized interest areas that take advantage of the unique environmental offerings of the islands (i.e., aquaculture, geology, astronomy).
  • Application forms are broadly disseminated with appropriate promotions through the media, local newspapers and radio stations.

 

Equally significant is the idea of "giftedness" and its meaning to the Hawaiian community. Efforts research efforts in the Hawaiian community suggest that centers such as Nä Pua No'eau should spend its resources on nurturing the gifts of the students as opposed to setting up exclusive criteria and programing. The Hawaiian perspective suggests that enrichment opportunities should be available for all Hawaiian children who want to participate.