Creating a Safe and Inclusive Classroom Environment Through Pilina

This unit will help pre-service teachers understand the importance of building and strengthening pilina with students to create a safe and inclusive classroom environment. This unit challenges teacher candidates to take a holistic approach to teaching through exploration and engagement in cultural frameworks with an emphasis on aloha, pilina, and gift-based practices. Teacher candidates will then apply these practices in the field and reflect on their experiences to inform future implications.
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Standards Aligned

Na Hapena A'o, Other (see Unit)

Community Partner(s)

Since pre-service teachers learn best by being in the field, this unit is designed to give them the opportunity to apply teaching strategies and practices in a real classroom setting, then reflect on their experiences. In order for the teacher candidates to engage in the application of strategies and practices, mentor teachers are needed in the field who are willing to open their classrooms to allow the candidates to work with their students. Mentor teachers in our Hawaiʻi public schools play an important role as community partners in this unit as they provide teacher candidates with guidance, meaningful ʻike, and hands-on experiences. Through this process, teacher candidates will gain a deeper understanding of what it means to care for students and be an effective educator in Hawaiʻi. 

Essential Question

How can I build and strengthen pilina with my students to create a safe and inclusive classroom environment?

Enduring Understanding

  1. Teacher candidates understand that having a strengthened sense of aloha in their teaching fosters healthy student to student and student to teacher relationships.
  2. Teacher candidates understand that teaching from a gift-based approach creates an inviting environment that welcomes student diversity.
  3. Teacher candidates understand that healthy relationships are necessary to create a space where students feel safe.

Learner Level Post-Secondary

Primary Content Cultural Knowledge, Art & Performing Arts, Social Studies