Cultural Identity Training Design: An Outsider’s Journey Training Cultural Insiders in Hawai’i about Cultural Identity

Jennifer N. Rutt, SIT Graduate Institute


Culture is a term that has many definitions. Cultural Identity is almost as difficult to define. Thus, the task of educating those from a culture different than your own – otherwise known as “the other” – about one’s culture can seem overwhelming. What exactly makes one culture different from another? What makes your culture unique? How do you represent and educate others about your culture? These are the questions that teenage 4-H members in Honolulu, HI were faced with when preparing for a Cultural Event funded by the University of Hawai’i – Mānoa. My role as a graduate intern with Hawai’i 4-H was to facilitate training workshops on cultural identity to help answer some of those questions through the lens of a Social Justice educator. However, being a cultural outsider in Hawai’i presented difficult and unique situations and discussions about whether it was appropriate for a cultural outsider to educate youth on their cultural identity.

This Training Design in Experiential Learning Course-Linked Capstone will reflect on a Case Study of four Cultural Identity Workshops I facilitated for selected 4-H clubs in preparation for the First Annual 4-H HERO (Hawai’i Educates & Respects O’hana) Cultural Event. Through this paper I will discuss my background and experiences as a trainer/trainee, the conceptual frameworks that make up the foundation of my trainer lens, training principles and their application to this case study, the social justice issues surrounding the idea of “the other,” as well as how my experiences in addition to these frameworks, principles, and issues affected and influenced my training design.