cover art for Part 1 of 3: Pedagogy in the Hawai'ian Islands w/ Dr. Keanu Sai, University of Hawai‘i Windward Community College

Human Restoration Project

Part 1 of 3: Pedagogy in the Hawai'ian Islands w/ Dr. Keanu Sai, University of Hawai‘i Windward Community College

Ep. 138

Welcome to the first of a three-part series on Pedagogy in the Hawai'ian Islands, where we explore history, philosophy, and progressive developments in Hawai'ian Pedagogy. My name is Noah Ranz-Lind, and I am a student at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst, interning at the Human Restoration Project.

In this episode, we delve into the history of education in the Hawai'ian Kingdom, the impact of occupation and colonialism, and the link between Hawai'ian sovereignty and pedagogical practice here in Hawai'i. Today I’m joined by Dr. Keanu Sai. Dr. Sai is a political scientist and senior lecturer at the University of Hawai‘i Windward Community College, Political Science and Hawai'ian Studies Departments, and affiliate graduate faculty member at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa College of Education. He also served as Agent for the Hawai'ian Kingdom at the Permanent Court of Arbitration, The Hague, Netherlands, in Larsen v. Hawaiian Kingdom. His research focuses on the continued existence of the Hawai'ian Kingdom as a State under international law that has been under military occupation by the United States of America since January 17, 1893. 

More episodes

View all episodes

  • 146. Off The Mark: How Grades, Ratings, & Rankings Undermine Learning (But Don't Have To) w/ Jack Schneider & Ethan Hutt

    “Let's start with the bad news.” is how the conclusion to my guests’ book about changing grading practice begins. “No one is coming to save us. No consultant is going to sweep through and fix things for a fee. No new technology, digital, online, or otherwise, is going to change the game.” The game, of course, is school, and the currency of that game is grades.Jack Schneider is Dwight W. Allen Distinguished Professor in the College of Education at the UMass - Amherst. He is the Executive Director of the Beyond Test Scores Project. Director of the Center for Education Policy. Co-Editor of the History of Education Quarterly, and Co-Host of the Have You Heard Podcast.Ethan Hutt is the Gary Stuck Faculty Scholar in Education and associate professor at the UNC Chapel Hill School of Education.Their 2023 book, Off the Mark: How Grades, Ratings, and Rankings Undermine Learning (but Don’t Have To), is a thorough, and at times frustratingly pragmatic, exploration of flawed necessity of the load bearing pillars of “real school” – grades, transcripts, and standardized tests – their origins in our nation’s history, the distorting effects they tend to have on the outcomes and goals of education, why nothing has arisen so far to replace them at scale, and why there are no magic potions: “No one is going to wake up one morning and realize that the answer was staring us in the face all along,” they remind us.Balancing the real with the ideal, they also chart a path toward the possibility for something different, and like the grand experiment of public schooling itself, it’s something we’ll have to figure out and build together.Off The MarkJack SchneiderEthan Hutt
  • 145. Rethinking Schools w/ Cierra Kaler-Jones

    In this episode, we talk with Rethinking Schools first-ever Executive Director, Cierra Kaler-Jones, about the past, present, and future of Rethinking Schools, especially as we enter another potentially contentious year of educational culture wars for 2024, and her vision for how educators can demand power for those who need it the most within our school system. Links:Rethinking Schools
  • 144. Systemic Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) w/ Dr. Emma McMain

    Today we are joined by Dr. Emma McMain. Emma works in the College of Education at Washington State University as a postdoctoral teacher and researcher, focusing on assessment for pre-service elementary teachers, cultural considerations in education, and social and emotional learning (SEL). Her work aims to promote social and ecological justice, seeing education as an important site of social transformation. Dr McMain's recent works include: Drawing the line: Teachers affectively and discursively question what counts as “appropriate behavior” in schools — which dissects the power dynamics of classrooms in determining what is “appropriate” behavior; and The “Problem Tree” of SEL: A Sociopolitical Literature Review — which contextualizes what social-emotional learning actually means in a classroom setting from a variety of perspectives and in history. Particularly, we wanted to reach out and talk more about the idea of SEL as systemic change versus SEL as an add-on, and why this matters as we think about racism, sexism, neoliberalism, and more, especially in the context of SEL in the ongoing culture war and attacks on schools.More about Dr Emma McMainDrawing the line: Teachers affectively and discursively question what counts as “appropriate behavior” in schools
  • 143. MINDFOOD V: Top 3 (Non-Ed) Spaces to Learn About Education

    Reimagining education is no small feat, but there is hope on the horizon. MINDFOOD, easily digestible content for education. In this series, we'll do the random fun stuff: top 10 lists, current events, things we're thinking about. This is a casual format with limited editing and not as many intense conversations that occur in our mainline HRP interviews. Let us know what you think.Learn more about our free resources, podcast, writings, and more at Restoration Project is a 501(c)3 nonprofit centered on enabling human-centered schools through progressive pedagogy.
  • 142. Part 3 of 3: Pedagogy in the Hawai'ian Islands feat. Hanahau‘oli School

    In this incredible final installment of his exploration of the pedagogy of the Hawaiian Islands, Noah Ranz-Lind talks to educators and students at Hanahau‘oli School, a progressive K-6 school in Honolulu. Hanahau‘oli School promises its students an "intimate and nurturing learning community supports connections between home and school and the world, respecting and celebrating the uniqueness of the Hanahau‘oli child while appreciating the interconnectedness that defines our learning ‘ohana. Grounded in tradition yet embracing of innovation, we perpetuate joyous work, committed to being a resource and symbol of learning’s potential." And you will hear ample evidence of the joyous work at hand in this episode! Links:Hanahau‘oli School
  • 141. More Teaching, Less Testing Act w/ Congressman Jamaal Bowman

    Chris sits down with Congressman Jamaal Bowman! serving New York's 16th district since 2021. Bowman was a crisis management teacher in an elementary school in the Bronx, who eventually founded his own public school, the Cornerstone Academy for Social Action, a middle school in Eastchester. For years he maintained a blog on changing school policy and standardized testing, with a focus on being deeply involved in the opt-out movement to encourage families to not take the tests, as well as centering pedagogy on social emotional health and restorative justice.Congressman Bowman’s team reached out to Human Restoration Project to talk about the More Teaching, Less Testing Act (linked below). The policy lessens the number of tests given each year in schools, limiting the number of tests all students take and finding other ways to gather data, such as through a smaller but representative sample size. Please note that Human Restoration Project is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and that this interview is not an endorsement of Bowman or his electoral campaign.More Teaching, Less Testing Act: video of this conversation in available on our YouTube channel:
  • 140. Gamification vs. Game-Based Learning: What's up? w/ Dr. James York & Dr. Jonathan deHaan (Ludic Language Pedagogy)

    On today’s podcast we’re joined by two founders of Ludic Language Pedagogy or LLP. LLP is an open access academic journal and community focused on publishing actionable ideas on “ludic”, or playful, ideas, and language learning, such as through tabletop RPGs, live action role playing, card games, and video games. For example, recently published papers include “Teaching Spanish with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time” and “Places, people, practices, and play: Animal Crossing New Horizons here and there.”James and Jonathan are currently writing a book on ludic pedagogy, and they led a session at our recent Conference to Restore Humanity! on ludic teaching that is definitely worth checking out. This conversation centers the distinction of gamification from game-based learning: what's the difference? Why does it matter? How does it apply to teaching and learning?GuestsDr. James York is the editor in chief of LLP and a senior assistant professor at Meiji University, where he teaches and conducts research on the application of games, play and literacy. Dr. Jonathan deHaan is an associate editor and associate professor in the Faculty of International Relations at the University of Shizuoka, who focuses on teaching literacy with games.ResourcesLudic Language PedagogyLLP @ Conference to Restore HumanityPac Manhattan
  • 139. Part 2 of 3: Pedagogy in the Hawai'ian Islands w/ Dr. Stacy Potes, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

    Aloha and welcome to episode 2 in a three part series on Pedagogy in the Hawaiian Islands. My name is Noah Ranz-Lind, and I am a student from the University of Massachusetts - Amherst interning here at the Human Restoration Project.In this episode, we delve into the research of Dr. Stacy Potes and her place-based pedagogical framework for Hawaiian youth. Stacy Potes, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Education in Secondary Mathematics. Dr. Potes currently teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in teacher preparation, including Secondary Mathematics Methods and Multicultural Education. Previously, she worked as a Mathematics Lecturer at the University of Hawaiʻi West Oʻahu for five years and as a secondary mathematics teacher for thirteen years in the Department of Education. She focuses on contextualizing mathematics education by incorporating mathematics, culture, and sustainability. Her research is rooted in Hawaiʻi and influenced the development of a framework that includes place-conscious pedagogy, culturally responsive pedagogy, and critical ethnomathematics pedagogy.
  • BONUS: The Takeover of Houston ISD w/ Karina Quesada-León

    What you just heard were public comments from three community members of Houston Independent School District, the largest school district in Texas, at the center of a controversial state takeover by the Texas Education Agency. The bell you hear in the audio is a hard cut-off for speakers, whose mics were immediately turned off. After working its way through the legal system for several years, last winter, the Texas Supreme Court greenlit the replacement of district superintendent and the locally elected board of trustees by the head of the TEA, appointed directly by the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, himself. And last month, school was back in session under the newly appointed superintendent, Mike Miles - former US State Department ambassador, charter school CEO, and Dallas ISD superintendent - amid dozens of pedagogical and policy changes that left teachers, parents, and students confused, frustrated, and afraid, as heard in the public comment at the beginning of this episode.The takeover of Houston ISD sits at the intersection of so many issues impacting American education today - democratic backsliding and the rise of authoritarianism, the so-called parents’ rights movement, testing & accountability measures, poverty, race, and charter schools. On Friday, September 15th, the morning after another heated board meeting in Houston, I spoke with Karina Quesada-Leon, an Houston ISD parent, activist, and former teacher who has been intensely involved in HISD for a decade, and she was generous to speak with me for an hour about the recent history of the majority Hispanic/Latino district, the impact of the takeover on teachers, families, & students, and how they are experiencing the New Educational System of Superintendent Mike Miles, and what’s next for the movement opposed to these reactionary changes.We are generally not a current-events podcast, but because this is a fast-moving story, we wanted to release it to listeners as soon and as lightly edited as possible. You can also find an overview of the story on our YouTube channel by searching Human Restoration Project. We hope to follow up with Karina and other affected teachers, parents, and students at Houston ISD. If you’d like to reach out to me directly, you can do so by emailing And of course you can always find more of our work and support us @ humanrestorationproject.orgVideo: The Houston ISD Takeover Punishes Poverty & Subverts DemocracyTwitter: Houston Education AssociationTwitter: Karina Quesada-Leon