Nānā ka maka; hoʻolohe ka pepeiao; paʻa ka waha. (Observe with the eyes; listen with the ears; shut the mouth.) from ʻŌlelo Noʻeau, Hawaiian Proverbs and Poetical Sayings by Mary Kawena Pukui

The Native Hawaiian approach to learning is based on the ʻōlelo noʻeau, or wise sayings, about the Hawaiian worldview and values, as well as lessons in behavior, protocol, relationships, land management, arts, and spirituality.

The following sayings make up the Hawaiian approach to learning:

Nānā ka maka (The eye sees)

For the learner: Observe the task to be done

For the teacher: Model or demonstrate the task

Hoʻolohe ka pepeiao (The ear listens)

For the learner: Listen to the instructions and any other sounds that clarify the task (wind, rain, ocean, or materials being used)

For the teacher: Not all instruction is with words

Paʻa ka waha (Secure/shut/fasten the mouth)

For the learner: Be silent and process the two steps above

For the teacher: This is the critical thinking stage

Hana ka lima (Put the hands to work)

For the learner: Learn by doing; mimic the teacher’s work

For the teacher: Observe and check the student’s work

Nīnau (Question)

For the learner: Questions may be asked only after the previous steps have been done at least one more time; twice is ideal

For the teacher: Send the learner back to the previous steps again to self-correct/learn by doing