MEd CS Student (Aloha Kumu Cohort)

Denise Low-Liu

“More than ever, we need to build communities that teach others how to agree to disagree and share opinions without judgement. If we can teach children at a young age, maybe we can build change in our future leaders.”


Mililiani, ‘Oahu


Curriculum Studies

Related Degrees

  • MEd, Curriculum Studies: National Board Certification Teacher Leader
  • MEd, Curriculum Studies: P4C Hawaii Leadership

What other degrees do you hold?
I have a BS in Family Resource and a BEd in Elementary Education.

Where do you work?
I work at ‘Iliahi Elementary in Wahiawā.

How did you become intere sted in the field of education? The Aloha Kumu Program?
I became interested in the field of education because of the great teachers I had who taught me to be an empathetic, kind individual. I learned about the Aloha Kumu program through my friend Stephanie. I co-taught with her for a semester at a model p4c school where she introduced me to the p4c approach. The students engaged me through conversations, and I was hooked. I was able to see children think critically, have collaborative conversations in an intellectually safe space, provide reasons for their thoughts and ideas, and demonstrate empathetic listening. Through her encouragement, I applied for the Curriculum Studies program with the emphasis on Philosophy for Children and National Boards. And here I am today, loving graduate school!

What will your next school year look like amid COVID-19? How are you adapting?
My school year will be one of challenge but optimism. I am staying positive and taking things one day at a time. I will be finishing up my last year of graduate school and obtaining my National Boards certification in the field of Early Childhood generalist. I am also my school’s HSTA head representative. I try to make decisions with compassion and kindness, moving forward and being flexible in my thinking.

I recently discovered the word unlearn in education. As Harrison Barnes (June, 2020) said, “I believe one of the most important forms of growth we can undertake is unlearning. All the learning we do, in a sense, involves unlearning. The more we can unlearn, the more likely we are to experience the sense of growth and progress we so desire.”

I have been adapting by being proactive in my teaching. I am finding ways to modify strategies that I have used in the past to fit the physical distancing guidelines to keep my students safe and engaged. I am using more technology to be creative in my approach. My students’ social-emotional well-being is of importance to me. As educators, we need to teach our students how to safely physically distance themselves, but we have to keep in mind that this shouldn’t stop them from being inventive in how they socialize and work together.

How has the COE program impacted or benefited your career path?
The COE program has helped strengthen my commitments to an examined educator’s life. Philosophy has become a part of my teaching and how I see children. The students and I work together to learn and grow with one another, questioning and discovering. As a facilitator of learning, I listen with intention to the thoughts of my students and try to understand their thinking before making any assumptions. I am more aware of being culturally proficient when talking to colleagues, parents, and students.

The COE program has also opened doors for me. I have had the opportunity to share p4c in my community and share its successes with my first grade students. It has allowed me the opportunity to network with others in the field of education, strengthen my leadership skills, and build my confidence as an educator.

Is there anyone in particular who inspired you to pursue teaching as a career?
My high school science teacher and hiking instructor Mr. Fred Nakaguma. He taught us life skills of being community contributors, complex thinkers, and effective communicators. He showed me that he cared about me as a person and supported my decisions.

What are your future visions and goals?
My future visions and goals are to help share the philosophy of children’s approach to other teachers. I would like to begin to plant more seeds with colleagues and students to think philosophically and be able to ask questions and reasons with compassion and kindness. More than ever, we need to build communities that teach others how to agree to disagree and share opinions without judgement. If we can teach children at a young age, maybe we can build change in our future leaders.

Anything else you would like to include?
I would like to thank my husband and children for being patient with me as I pursue my master’s degree and National Boards, my professors and cohort classmates for supporting me and taking this journey with me, and my principal and grade level teammates.

I'm interested in learning more about a degree or certificate in Curriculum Studies.

Request More Info about choosing a program