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Te Reo Māori and the Curriculum Guidelines - FAQ

Download the video clip for FLV player (52 MB)

Duration: 09:42

Key content


Key content

Frequently asked questions are aired – including the availability of resources; statistics on Māori speakers; the role of the Māori Language Commission; the recognition of prior learning; the characteristics of an effective Māori language teacher; the ‘how’ of teaching Māori; current ‘task-based’ learning theory; the relationship between Māori language and culture; communicative language teaching; the six language modes; NCEA alignment with curriculum levels; the concept of ‘ako’; and giving classroom instructions in te reo Māori.

Things to think about


Things to think about

Make a list of questions that you would like to discuss/be answered, for example, with peers, reo Māori advisor in schools, or senior leadership.




FAQ 1 What are some of the resources that support teachers to design school programmes for te reo Māori?

Dee Reid - Te Reo Māori Advisor, School Support Services, University of Waikato: In the very front it has one of them, which is He Reo Kōmanawa which is the CD of digital resources. Not digital objects, they’re different...digital resources that come from Digistore and that is accessed through Te Kete Ipurangi. The other one is Ka Mau te Wehi, a multimedia resource which has been produced okay, so it has written materials all there and I’ve shown you the DVDs earlier today and that has that as well with waiata. So that’s the second. The third is a website called Te Whakaipurangi which is a teacher resource page and lesson plans are available from there. There’s plenty of others but those are three sort of main ones.

FAQ 2 What percentage of New Zealanders can communicate in te reo Māori?

To communicate in te reo is very different to being able to speak te reo. So just about anyone could speak te reo ‘cause they could just learn something and then get up and say it. But to communicate you need to have that receptive, you know understand that reo that’s being spoken or the reo or you’re reading, and then to be able to respond is actually a step...I’d say a step higher but it’s actually a level deeper. Okay, so that’s the difference there. And it’s only 3%, so 24 would be absolutely awesome if that was the statistic but 3% is the actual one.

FAQ 3 What is the role of Te Taura Whiri Te Reo Māori?

So maintain the quality and improve...okay so those are two, there’s lots of others but those are the two sort of main responsibilities of the Māori Language Commission.

FAQ 4 When teachers are planning their reo Māori programmes, what information about their students should they already know or be aware of?

It is absolutely imperative and we’ll actually step into this very soon, around establishing what experiences have your students already been involved in? You can’t assume that they all start at level one or that they all come with the same experiences and the same knowledge. So to actually sort of ascertain what your students' prior knowledge and learning experiences are is absolutely so important.

FAQ 5 What are some characteristics of an effective teacher of te reo Māori?

There’s so many there but I’d like to allude to the one about building strong relationships with whānau. ‘Cause you know how sometimes we’re a little bit apprehensive...you know when we don’t know if we’re doing things correctly. And we want to be doing things correctly. And your first port of call, and someone like Tame or I, it’s our job to support you but actually no when we come over to Tainui, te rohe o Tainui it’s probably more appropriate that you ask someone from your local community than it is to actually ask us. So actually keep them involved...your whānau, your community, your local iwi.

FAQ 6 What pedagogy questions might you ask to help improve your te re Māori teaching?

Now the key word there is pedagogy. So one question is how can I teach my next lesson most effectively? Or another one is, am I ensuring a culturally appropriate context in my classroom? Alright, because it’s making decisions about how...it’s about how we do it...it’s not so much about the what.

FAQ 7 What type of language learning does Ellis (2003) recommend?

That is task based language learning. And that’s part of a communicative approach.

FAQ 8 True or false: Te reo Māori and tikanga Māori are inseparable?

Absolutely true...te reo Māori and tikanga Māori are inseparable and see that’s where a resource like Ka Mau te Wehi can actually come in handy, because if you have no prior knowledge or experiences when it comes to tikanga, then this is one port of call for you. It’s not the only and it’s not the most appropriate, but it’s a start. And again heavily emphasised there, the importance of engaging your whānau and your local community in helping you through this.

FAQ 9 What does communicative language teaching enable students to engage in?

Communicative language teaching enables students to engage in meaningful, communication. Alright the whole point of that is that it’s authentic, it’s real and they’re engaging and using te reo for a purpose. Which is real to them ‘cause they’re not just going to use that language in the four rooms of your classroom, but perhaps one day outside of the classroom as well. Okay, so it’s not about learning all the names of the different dinosaurs, alright, in Māori...because how often, or how many times would a student get to encounter that language again. Not very often aye? So that’s what that one’s about...meaningful communication.

FAQ 10 What are the six ‘ara reo’ (language modes)?

Now the other reo language modes...there are six of them. Reading, writing, speaking, listening, presenting and viewing and in te reo they are written in the guidelines for you. Language modes...alright, a big shift in the terminology for me because I’m used to calling them strands. So that’s some new learning for me in terms of how these things are labelled, so language modes.

FAQ 11 Levels 1 – 3 of NCEA approximate to which levels of the reo Māori curriculum guidelines?

NCEA level 1 will be level 6 of these guidelines...will be...it’s not yet. Okay it will be, it’s currently being aligned now. Level 2 NCEA will be level 7 and level 3 NCEA will be level 8. So those are those are the taumata in relevance to this document. Historically...well currently, NCEA is actually aligned to the one that’s all in te reo, written all in Māori. So the different levels there.

FAQ 12 What does the concept of ‘ako’ describe?

Ako...now you could have written anything here ‘cause I’m not going to say that you’re wrong. But what the book says, what they guidelines say is that it’s all about that reciprocal notion of learning...okay so ako can be learning and it can be teaching. So it’s about teachers letting go of being, you know, the ones at the front and knowing all there is to know about it because if you’ve established your students’ prior knowledge appropriately, then you’ll realise that hang on a minute I’m going to be doing some learning from them as well. So that’s not all ako is, but it’s one aspect of it.

FAQ 13 Is it necessary to provide an English translation when giving instructions in te reo Māori?

No it’s not necessary to provide an English translation. Is that profound news for some of you? How many of you actually translate the Māori that you’re using? I mean it’s okay because that’s where you’re at but if it’s used in context then it’s not necessary. Okay, so if I could just emphasise that...that sometimes it’s okay to be able to put it back into the first language of the students that are learning te reo. But if the reo, the language that is actually being used is used in context then it wouldn’t be necessary to provide that translation.

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