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Te reo Māori in the classroom

The need for there to be a progression in students’ Māori language learning is discussed in this clip – to avoid the common scenario in many schools of students receiving a diet of colours, numbers and songs, in Year 1-8. We see an experienced teacher integrating Māori language with her new entrant class, as they discuss the weather, respond to the roll call, and express how they're feeling. This teacher’s philosophy is a ‘little and often’ throughout the day. She has challenged herself to go beyond the basics, such that the children take turns to facilitate/lead/initiate the session – and they can also re-state how someone is feeling, by using the third person, that is, Kei te ngenge ia (S/he’s tired).


Last year we looked at what we were doing in our own practices in the school. It became very obvious that in year 1 we were doing colours, and numbers, and waiata and lo and behold we were also doing that in year 8, and there is no progression whatsoever. And as a staff we need to look at ways we can change that so we do have some progression throughout the school.

Jeremy Edwards – Northland School

The important part is that you do actually plan Māori language, just as if you are planning reading and writing. I had two Māori advisors who came in who were passionate about it. So they actually influenced me and inspired me. And they also came in and said. ‘Don't be afraid of it, it’s just another language.’ All you need to do is start just implementing a small amount of Māori language in everything you ever do. When I am planning te reo I think about how I can actually implement it and actually build it into the day. So, for example, we do ‘how are you?’ in the morning.

And so I also work out what I can do that is part of my day, and also something that is accumulative. So, for example, the children started out being asked the question how are you, they answered and said how they were. Now they’re asking the question and giving several answers, and now they are also beginning to say how someone else is feeling. So when we do Māori language it is implemented in an integrated way as part of our whole programme. We're not all standing there having half an hour of Māori language. They are getting the curriculum with Māori language, poured and sequential throughout that curriculum.

Felicity Bothamley – Brooklyn School


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