Thursday, October 1, 2009


instruction, teaching, learning, to learn, teach, instruct, train, tutor, coach

The thing that I find most interesting and peculiar about today's "momi" that is SO different from English is that in Hawaiian the word for "to learn" is the same word for "to teach." And you don't really stop to think about it, but the best way to learn something is to actually teach it. That is aʻo.
I took Hawaiian for three years in high school and four years in college but never really could use it like I wanted to, just did well on the tests and speeches because you can study for that. But how did I finally learn to actually communicate in Hawaiian? I taught my babies! Yup, not much you need to say to an infant and a toddler (want to eat? don't do that!), and as my children got older my abilities had to get better in order to keep up the conversation! It was great! The intricacies of any fine art are best learned when it is taught to someone else. Want to learn more about Hawaiian history? Give someone else a reason to want to learn it and teach it to them. If you think you're good at something, try teaching it to someone else. that will show how good you really are.
This reminds me of one of my favorite ʻōlelo noʻeau:
Ma ka hana ka ʻike - in doing, one knows
E lawe i ka aʻo a e mālama, a e ʻoi mau ka naʻauao - He who takes his learning and applies it increases his knowledge.

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