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Communicative Language Learning

Key content


Key content

The second language learning principles are discussed in the context of communicative language teaching – where the teacher designs and facilitates "tasks" that have real-life application.

Things to think about


Things to think about

  • Are there aspects of my teaching that I could change, to make my Māori lessons more communicative?
  • How can I make sure to integrate tikanga into each class that I teach?




Rewa Paewai - National Coordinator, Te Reo Māori Professional Development:
In a communicative classroom where students are starting to learn te reo Māori, the teacher is probably the most important person, in terms of that extensive input of te reo Māori. So that students can hear it being used and in an everyday sense.

Kylie Te Arihi - Teacher, Woodstock School:
In the morning we start off with whanaungatanga and I’ve talked to the children about what whanaungatanga means to our classroom and given them the whakaaro behind it all, and we start by having a maioha and just an informal welcome to our day of learning together as a learning whānau.

And to start that off, I modelled it to them first, until they were familiar with what it sounded like and in terms of the routine or the context that we use it in. And then I taught the girls it. We’d have little sessions throughout the week practicing it together and then they would practice it with a buddy. And slowly I took my support away, and now they can actually run that part of the morning independently by themselves, confidently knowing the context that they’re using it is appropriate and knowing what it means for our class.

Rewa Paewai - National Coordinator, Te Reo Māori Professional Development:
So you were the model to begin with, and then you’ve given them opportunities to practice and you’ve withdrawn yourself, and now they can confidently participate in that little activity in te reo Māori. Ka pai, kia ora.

Another feature of a communicative classroom are opportunities for output. So speaking and writing.

We won’t go into detail around that because that’s kind of self-explanatory.

The other feature of the communicative classroom are opportunities to interact. So, and when I talk about interact, I don’t mean controlled practice like role plays or that sort of thing but authentic opportunities to interact.

And therefore, our tamariki have to have strategies.

Have you ever been to a foreign country and you’ve got a smattering of language and you try and make yourself understood. You have to employ a lot of different strategies if you don’t have a lot of language.

So we have to support our students to be able to interact in authentic or near to real-life situations, so that they are able to, so that they get a sense that the language is something that we can use in an everyday way. That it’s not a theoretical language that it’s not something we do in the classroom, but that it relates to their world and to their lives.

The other thing that I want to say about a communicative classroom is that the communicative approach recognises that there are a range of competencies. So you may be a beginner of te reo Māori ... you may have beginner competency, that means that you are qualified to teach beginners of te reo Māori, and Dee talked earlier about fear and being afraid and do I know everything there is about te reo Māori? Do I know about tikanga?

The beauty of the communicative approach is that if you are, if you have competency at beginner level then you are competent to teach at levels one and tw,o for example.

Tame Kuka - Te Reo Māori Advisor, School Support Services, Waikato University:
One little thing about communicative approach is that it really does push the positive side of te reo.

Once you become used to the instructional or just teaching kids commands and instructions, then it tends to become a little bit negative you know. You start to think ... construct things like "Don’t do this", "Don’t do that", and all the kids are going to get is that negative side of the language.

But the communicative really pushes the opposite, and that’s something to be aware of.

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