Ho`ala School’s Educational Philosophy
Ho`āla Education is a philosophy that uses a coherent system of practices to develop citizens of personal integrity who act effectively for the greater good. Ho`āla Education is based on the work of Alfred Adler as articulated by Rudolf Dreikurs and others. Adler held that human behavior is purposive or future oriented, although unconsciously so. Adler identifies two basic motivations and says that each of us is searching for two things:
— a strong sense (or experience) of significance, and
— a strong sense (or experience) of belonging
How we achieve this purpose:
School and home partner to create environments where children develop habits of responsibility, respect, resourcefulness, and responsiveness through example and experience, and as a result, flourish as successful, healthy, and contributing human beings.
The 4 Rs
Our core values of the 4 Rs show up in our speaking and in our actions:
RESPONSIBILITY – The power of the individual
You lose your power when you blame, lie, make excuses, and justify. You gain power by “owning” the choices you make in attitude and behavior.
RESPECT – the balance of power between individuals
Honor your decision-making boundaries and those of others. Respect others by not making decisions for them that are properly theirs; Respect yourself by not allowing others to make decisions that are properly yours.
RESOURCEFULNESS – how we will work together
Taking effective action instead of complaining, and focusing on what works. Problem solve!
RESPONSIVENESS – for what purpose
Act for the good of the whole. We are interdependent and interconnected. Win-win instead of win-lose.
Based on these assumptions and core values, we organize the school so that:
1. Adults model these values in their speaking and actions. Our students know when we adults don’t “walk the talk”. The Four Rs elucidated with specific behaviors become our norms to guide our working together; e.g. “If I have a concern or complaint, I will speak to the person who can do something about it, rather than complain to others.”
2. We focus on building relationships and community: between teachers and students through connecting activities, listening groups, and organizing various events through mixed-grade interactions and school wide events to build school connectedness.
3. We empower students’ voices by:
• Listening to them and taking them seriously
• Providing opportunities for them to lead in many ways; Student council, Peer tutoring, peer mediation and forming groups of their choosing
• Giving them as many choices as appropriate to raise their sense of self
Our philosophy includes these concepts:
• Human beings are self-determining and are responsible for their own lives and this means even our Kindergarteners have the capacity to be responsible.
• Human beings have the power to transform their lives by what they think. If we change our thinking, we change our feelings and our experience of life. [responsibility]
• The human potential of students is unleashed when their unique sense of self is nurtured. When they are grounded in who they are, their capacity of compassion and social responsibility are enhanced. [responsibility, respect, resourcefulness, responsiveness]
• Human beings learn best when they are not afraid of making mistakes which are valuable opportunities to learn.
• Each person matters and makes a difference to everyone else. Each person is interconnected and interdependent. All life on earth is interconnected and interdependent. [interdependence and responsiveness]
• By fulfilling the psychological and emotional needs for sense of self and sense of belonging, the capacity for learning and for compassion blossoms. These needs are fulfilled when students are listened to, taken seriously, and feel needed.
• Students cannot be safe to be their unique selves unless they support others to be themselves. In certain grade levels, the opinion of peers is critical and when students can value and support others to be themselves, they in turn are supported. [interdependence and responsiveness]
• Students learn from an intrinsic desire, rather than from extrinsic manipulations and we believe that intrinsic motivation is more effective in student achievement. [responsibility and respect]
• All human beings are equal in deserving respect, not because of age or role, but simply because they are human beings. Students should be treated with the same degree of respect by adults as adults would treat another adult. [respect]
• Respecting another human being means: (1) listening to them, (2) taking them seriously, and (3) honoring choices that are appropriately theirs to make. [respect]
• When a school is organized around these principles, students will flourish and develop resiliency when meeting challenges and grow academically.