The Hawaiian Community Research Project (HCRP) was organized by the Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop Musuem, which has a long tradition of conducting anthropological research in Polynesia. From 1965 to 1970, the HCRP was supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and the Progressive Neighborhoods Program of the State of Hawaii. Additional support was provided by the Department of Psychology and Social Science Research Institute, University of Hawaii. The HCRP was inspired by a dynamic leader, Myron “Pinkie” Thompson, and developed by Alan Howard who recruited me to join the team in 1966.
This community-based research included ethnographic and experimental methods, and focused on family, socialization, child development, and educational problems (Boggs, 1972; Gallimore & Howard, 1968; Howard, 1974; MacDonald & Gallimore, 1972; Gallimore, Boggs, & Jordan, 1974).
The ethnographic research identified a striking contrast between Hawaiian child competence in the home and in school. At relatively young ages, the children were expected to assume significant household responsibilities including cooking, laundry, and the care of siblings. A strong value was the idea that all should pitch in to sustain the family’s routine (Weisner, Gallimore, & Jordan, 1988).
The evident competence of the Hawaiian children at home suggested that they should be able to learn in any setting, school or otherwise. School observations suggested that too often classroom instruction did not capitalize on existing on children’s strengths, were frequently at odds with learning and communication patterns observed in the natal culture. A plan of attack seemed obvious: use our cultural research to guide a program of instructional innovation that took advantage of the skills and strengths the children brought to school.
Over a two year period, we attempted various instructional innovations based on our community, cultural, and linguistic research (Gallimore, Boggs, & Jordan, 1974; MacDonald & Gallimore, 1971). Many of these efforts either failed, or had too little effect to justify the cost of implementation, and changes were not sustained after external assistance ended. Even with the years of basic research in the community to guide our efforts, we were no more successful than the teachers and administrators we had been so quick to criticize. We continued to believe studies of Hawaiian culture were key to reducing the achievement gap, but we were unable to translate the findings into workable, effective, and stable changes in classroom practices.
But from these initial efforts we did learn that the task was much more difficult than we imagined. We had naively assumed that solutions could be devised by direct extrapolation from research to the classroom. Although we had spent many hours observing in schools, none of us had actually worked in the classroom, or tried to teach Hawaiian students with the approaches we had extrapolated from cultural studies. Our relationship to teachers and students alike had been relatively distant, and though involved in the schools, we were not truly part of classrooms. Innovations that seemed so appealing and workable in the seminar room did not easily translate into workable, reliably implemented instructional practices. We knew how to do research. The teachers knew how to run a classroom. But none of us knew how to combine both kinds of knowledge and skill. A bridge was needed between research and practice.
We needed a situation in which engaged researchers and practicing teachers tried out and closely monitored the effects of research-based changes on student learning, apply the tools of science, learn from our mistakes, and keep working on a problem until we solved it. Researchers and practitioners had to share responsibility and risk over time. It was the recognition of this step between research and practice that led to the creation of the Kamehameha Elementary Education Project.
Nanakuli Project Publications
Boggs, J. W. and Gallimore, R. (1974). Value style and school achievement among Hawaiian-Americans. In W. Lebra (Ed.), Youth, Socialization, and Mental Health: Vol. III. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
Gallimore, R. (1974). Affiliation motivation and Hawaii-American achievement. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 5, 48l-49l.
Gallimore, R. and Howard, A. (Eds.). (1968). Studies in a Hawaiian community: Na makamaka O Nanakuli. Pacific Anthropological Records No. 1, Department of Anthropology, B. P. Bishop
Gallimore, R., Boggs, J. W. and Jordan, C. (1974). Culture, Behavior, and Education: A Study of Hawaiian-Americans. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications, l974.
Gallimore, R., Weiss, L. B. and Finney, R. (1974). Cultural differences in delay of gratification: A problem of behavior classification. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 30, 72-80.
Howard, A. (1974). Ain't no big thing: Coping strategies in a Hawaiian-American community. Honolulu: The University of Hawaii Press.
Howard, A. Howard, A., Heighton, R., Jordan, C. and Gallimore, R. (1970). Traditional and modern adoption practices in Hawaii. In V. Carroll (Ed.), Adoption in Eastern Oceania. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
Kubany, E., Gallimore, R., and Buell, J. (1970). The effects of extrinsic factors on achievement oriented behavior: A non-Western case. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, l, 77-84. Reprinted In J. F. Rosenblith, W. Allinsmith and J. P. Williams (Eds.), Causes of Behavior: Readings in child development and educational psychology. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
MacDonald, S. and Gallimore, R. (l972). Introducing experienced teachers to classroom management techniques. Journal of Educational Research, 65, 420-434.
MacDonald, S. and Gallimore, R. (l97l). Battle in the Classroom. Scranton: Intext.
MacDonald, S. Gallimore, R., and MacDonald, G. (1970). Contingency counseling by school personnel: An economical model of intervention. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 3, l75-l82. Reprinted (1976) in J. Willis and D. Giles (Eds.), Great Experiments in Behavior Modification. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Company.
Sloggett, B., Gallimore, R., and Kubany, E. (1970). A comparative analysis of fantasy need achievement among high and low achieving male Hawaiian-Americans. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, l, 53-6l. Reprinted (1972) in J. F. Rosenblith, W. Allinsmith, and J. P. Williams (Eds.), Causes of Behavior: Readings in Child Development and Educational Psychology. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Weisner, T. S. and Gallimore, R. (1977). My brother's keeper: Child and sibling caretaking. Current Anthropology, l8 (2), l69-l90.