A qualitative case study exploring the integration and enabling factors of asset-based pedagogies among non-native elementary school teachers in Hawai‘i.


Teachers across the United States are responding to an increasingly diverse classroom environment. Problems unfold where teachers face challenges in adapting curriculum to diverse learners. Historically, most research has focused on the voices of teachers in urban classrooms, however; the voices of teachers in rural classrooms with indigenous populations are less common. The main problem this study aimed to address was how and what non-native elementary teachers in Hawai‘i do to integrate asset-based pedagogies after moving from the continental United States to teach in Hawaiian schools. I explored the voices of experienced teachers who moved to teach in Hawai‘i. The sampling methods, or criterion, required participants to have previous teaching experience anywhere in the continental United States and be full-time and fully-licensed teachers in Hawai‘i. The research design for this study consisted of a qualitative case study of four participants. In this study, all participants identified as non-native elementary teachers who moved to Hawai‘i from the continental United States. The research design encompassed three data collection methods: an open-ended questionnaire, interviews, and focus group discussions. Concluding the results of this study, I identified four emerging themes. Participants adapted lessons to the individual student, leveraged community partnerships, created culturally safe learning environments, and developed intercultural competence. Additional findings suggest that the participants in this study share a sense of belonging, express cultural competence, and have intentional teaching practices. The results of this study suggest that non-native teachers independently adapted to an increasingly diverse learning environment through connections and continued learning. To better support teachers' ability to adapt to increasingly diverse classrooms throughout the United States, further research should consider the diverse and culturally rich demographic of Hawai‘i Furthermore, studies should take into account the perspectives of teachers, such as those who move to Hawai‘i, and transitioned from a classroom with less diversity to one with greater diversity.