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Communicative Teaching - Formulaic Expressions

Key content


Key content

The reader Māmā is used as a way of learning new words through context and picture clues – by accessing own (and others’) prior knowledge, exemplifying "ako" and "tuakana-teina" learning.

Things to think about


Things to think about

  • What other readers/journal stories could I use to introduce new vocabulary and grammar?
  • How might I capitalise on the principle of "ako" in my classroom?




Jane Brown - Te Reo Māori Advisor, UC Education Plus, University of Canterbury:
Now when we’re thinking about our te reo Māori lessons, and we think, well it’s fine and dandy to have communicative activities; however, how do I begin to teach the vocab that tamariki are going to need.

So what we’re going to do is we’re just going to take you through a quick little strategy, and it’s going to give you an example of how you might be able to help the tamariki to start building vocab.

We’re actually going to take you through this resource here – Māmā (holds up book). As you’re working through this we want you to think about whether this could be a way that you could help your tamariki to build on their vocabulary. And what’s going to happen is that we’re going to invite you now to either by yourself or in pairs, to kōrero about some of these kupu in the front and write down the meanings, what you think they might mean.

We’re going to read the book and then hopefully from the context of the book, you get the meaning of the word. Māmā (holds up book and reads from it).

(Rewa holds up another copy of the book with the words and pictures facing out so that the students can see as Jane reads.) Ko tēnei taku māmā. He wahine ātaahua ia. He toa ia ki te tunu keke, ki te taraiwa motokā, ki te hoko kai, ki te peita whare, ki te purei Iniana, ki te whakapai mamae, ki te whiriwhri take, ki te waiata mō taku rā whānau. He wahine kaha ia ki te āwhina i a pāpā. He wahine tino atawhai ia i te whānau. Āe, e aroha ana ahau ki taku māmā. 

Now take a couple of minutes to talk with your partner and see if they got any more. And see if you can share.

Group of people at table: So all the family are concerned about this person, this child and they want to know why ... (general discussion with others).

Okay, let’s revisit those kupu.

taku. (students respond “my”.) Ka pai.

wahine. (students respond “woman.”)

ātaahua (students respond “beautiful.”) Āe ātaahua, beautiful.

toa (students respond “strong, brave”.) Good at? Champion. She’s champion at, she’s really good at. Ka pai.

tunu keke (students respond “baking.”) Tunu? Does anybody know what "tunu" is? Baking cakes, cooking cakes.

[On screen]
Extending vocabulary: kupu mahi (verbs)

You’ve had some new kupu that we’ve looked at and also in context of the pukapuka.

And a lot of those kupu there, that you’ve got on your sheet, a lot of those words are actually "kupu mahi".

What are kupu mahi?

Verbs. Ka pai. Doing words.

So, what we would usually do is we would learn some new kupu, and there may some kupu in there that you may have not learnt at all, you may already know them. Kei te pai.

But there’ll be some of your group members that you’ve helped to develop some of that knowledge as well. So ako, tuakanateina. Alright?

But you also have inside you some prior knowledge.

What are some of the kupu mahi that you already know?

And you would be also taking you tamariki through this. Tamariki mā, you know some kupu mahi already, so can you just call out some kupu mahi that you already know–Māori words, and Rewa’s going to write them up on the board for us.

What are some kupu mahi?

(General discussion as students call out words.)

So for the new kupu that your tamariki may have learnt from this pukapuka – and now we’ve asked them for some prior knowledge – as well some of the kupu mahi that they already know, then we would extend that to a sentence structure.

He toa au ki te (students repeat.)

He toa au ki te (students repeat.)

He toa au ki te (students repeat.)

So I am good at, he toa au ki te.

So if we wanted to say I’m good at waiata? (student respond) He toa au ki te waiata.

If I wanted to say I’m good at running? (students respond) He toa au ki te oma.

So you’ve started off with little bits of vocab, then you’ve found out some prior knowledge of your tamariki, and then you’re going to move it into a sentence structure.

Then from there, what you could do is start from "he toa au ki te", and then – you know how you have your little shopping games, where you go out and buy an apple and then you go out and buy an apple and a banana – so you could do the same thing with te reo Māori where Kathleen would say, "He toa au ki te moe?", and then I would say, "He toa a Kathleen ki te moe. He toa au ki te kai".

Does that make sense? So you would go around and give tamariki the opportunity to use another extra sentence structure as well.

So, that’s just a little way that you can start working on vocab and putting it into sentence structure.

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