Honolulu - The Uehiro Foundation on Ethics and Education has pledged $1.35 million to support the University of Hawai‘i Uehiro Academy for Philosophy and Ethics in Education. This builds on their 2012 gift of $1.25 million which established the Academy.
Located in the College of Arts & Humanities, the Academy supports research and education related to the preparation, support, and sustaining of educators, researchers and students who are developing intellectually safe communities of inquiry in their classrooms and schools. The Academy’s research serves students and teachers from Hawaiʻi, the U.S., Japan, and other international locations as they endeavor to respond to the ethical problems in the modern world.
The Uehiro Academy for Philosophy and Ethics in Education is the home of philosophy for children Hawai‘i (p4c Hawai‘i). p4c Hawai‘i is an innovative approach to education that is transforming the schooling experience by engaging people in the activity of philosophy. The p4c Hawai‘i approach helps students and teachers convert traditional classrooms into intellectually safe communities of inquiry. Together, they develop their ability to think for themselves in responsible ways by exploring “big questions” that arise from their interests, experiences, and learning contexts.
College of Arts and Humanities Dean Peter Arnade said, "The master teachers and researchers in the Uehiro Academy have established innovative and exciting programs in Hawai‘i schools that have become models for both U.S. and international educational leaders. Through the generosity of the Uehiro Foundation, the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa has become the gold standard of philosophy for children in the schools."
College of Education Dean Donald Young added, “Through our partnership and collaboration with Uehiro Academy, the College of Education has incorporated p4c in all our teacher preparation programs. The p4c philosophy and strategies prepare our teacher candidates with highly effective insights and abilities to reach all children in their classrooms and communities. Thanks to Uehiro Academy we are able to improve practice and graduate highly capable teachers.”
Since 2012, funding from the Uehiro Foundation has helped to support interdisciplinary collaboration between the College of Arts & Humanities (CoAH) and College of Education (COE).
As a result:
- Hundreds of COE teacher candidates have successfully completed an introduction to p4c Hawai‘i course (PHIL 492) and are now using the approach in their professional teaching practice.
- Graduate students (both Masters and Doctoral candidates) have been able to focus their research on p4c Hawai‘i.
- Numerous research studies and scholarly articles about the p4c Hawai‘i approach to education have been published and disseminated globally.
- Professional presentations related to the cutting edge work being done with p4c Hawai‘i at UHM have been given at top tier conferences and educational institutions around the world.
- National education movements like the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards have highlighted the work of UHM faculty and included p4cHI instructional strategies and methods as best practices for the field.
- Four “p4cHI Model Schools” and additional partner schools have developed as sites for COE teacher education programs, including p4c Hawai‘i teacher professional development and research. The model schools are: Waikiki Elementary, Ka‘elepulu Elementary, Waimānalo Elementary and Intermediate, and Kailua High School.
- A tri-annual p4c Hawai‘i teacher professional development exchange has developed between educators in Japan and Hawai‘i.
- The Miyagi University of Education has signed a MOU with the UHM COE and Uehiro Academy.
- Local, national, and international visitors who want to learn more about p4cHI have participated in and observed p4cHI lessons in the UHM COE and HIDOE. Over the past five years these visitors have come from: Japan, China, Korea, Bhutan, the United Kingdom, Austria, Germany, Australia, Indonesia, Taiwan, the continental United States, and neighbor islands.
- The creation of a p4c Hawai‘i COE Endorsed Certificate, which is helping to meet the growing demand for local, national, and international p4cHI practitioners by creating an institutional pathway for developing, verifying, and officially recognizing the quality of those practitioners
The collaboration between the CoAH and COE has also impacted the Hawai‘i State Department of Education (HIDOE):
- Three out of the last six Hawai‘i State Teachers of the Year are p4cHI practitioners.
- A brand new PDe3 introductory p4cHI course is now being offered to practicing teachers in the HIDOE for professional development credit.
- The authorization of a brand new high school social studies elective titled Philosophical Inquiry. The Philosophical Inquiry standards, benchmarks, and pilot course curriculum are all based of the p4cHI approach to education.
- The development of the Kailua High School philoSURFERS, which are high school students who support the growth of p4c Hawai‘i throughout the entire Kailua Complex on the Windward side of Oahu.
To further support and grow all of these efforts, starting in 2016, funding from the Uehiro Foundation is being used to partially support two full-time faculty positions in the COE Institute for Teacher Education (ITE) Secondary Program. Dr. Amber Strong Makaiau and Dr. Chad Miller hold these positions, and over the past year, they have worked with their colleagues in ITE Secondary to design a new teacher education program that will feature the p4c Hawai‘i approach to education. This new three-semester program will debut in the Spring of 2018.
Goro Takaguchi, Uehiro Foundation Managing Director said, “As a foundation committed to the happiness and well-being of children around the world, we are grateful to the University of Hawai‘i for its ongoing work promoting philosophy and ethics in classrooms. We are inspired by the impact the Uehiro Academy has made so far, and excited about our continued partnership.”
Founded in 1987, the Uehiro Foundation on Ethics and Education is a nonprofit foundation committed to the advancement of moral and ethical education in Japan. Through research, surveys, conferences, study groups, and active partnerships with universities around the world, the Foundation actively promotes ethical education in the areas of home, school, and community
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The University of Hawai‘i Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawai‘i System. The mission of the University of Hawai‘i Foundation is to unite donors’ passions with the University of Hawai‘i’s aspirations by raising philanthropic support and managing private investments to benefit UH, the people of Hawai‘i and our future generations.