You are here

Poipoia te Reo: The language is for everyone

“We just have to get over ourselves and do it” - Building teacher confidence in speaking and using te reo Māori

Ever worked alongside your Māori students and wished you could do more to show them that you knew and understood who they were, and that you valued their language, culture and identity? Have you ever wanted to be more confident to teach te reo Māori and develop your proficiency at the same time, so that te reo Māori becomes 'more of a norm' in the learning culture of your classroom? This is how several teachers at Rotokawa felt when they embarked on their journey with Poipoia te Reo in 2015. 

Poipoia te Reo is a provision for English-medium settings designed to support teachers to develop their confidence and effective teaching of te reo Māori using Te Aho Arataki Marau mō te Ako i roto i te Reo Māori - Kura Auraki/Curriculum Guidelines for Teaching and Learning Te Reo Māori in English-medium schools: Years 1-13.  Poipoia te Reo is driven by a vision, namely: 'Poipoia te reo, hei reo e ora ana, e kaha ana, e haumako ana' - Secure the future of te reo Māori as a living, dynamic and rich language’. PLD providers help teachers to develop an understanding and awareness of te reo Māori and te ao Māori, to challenge them to think about their teaching practice, their relationships and interactions with Māori students, their whānau and the wider school community and support schools with their achievement outcomes for students learning te reo Māori as a second language. For more information and impact from Poipoia te Reo PLD see the 2014 infographic data.

One school's journey

Rotokawa Primary School is an English medium primary school, located within Ngāti Whakaue, and provides education for students from Years 1 to 6. 62% of students on the roll identify as Māori  and there is a holistic view that the needs of these students will be met through increased use of te reo Māori. There have been recent changes in the Rumaki unit, where Māori students from rumaki now find themselves in mainstream classrooms. Because these students (and a number of others) are confident speakers of Māori (historically from te kohanga reo, rumaki), there is an expectation that all students and kaiako will be able to use te reo Māori more, in oral communication and written presentations. For students to be encouraged to do this well, there is also an expectation that teachers can also speak te reo Māori (instructions, phrases) more naturally with an explicit focus on teaching the language in the classroom everyday.

Rotokawa School requested in-depth support to:

  • develop kaiako confidence in speaking and using te reo Māori
  • build kaiako capability in the teaching of te reo Māori through developing pedagogical content knowledge of second language teaching strategies - practical application
  • support teachers to implement Te Aho Arataki Marau/Curriculum Guidelines into their classroom te reo Māori programme
  • accept te reo Māori from students - in presentations, from teachers (using phrases)
  • expect teaching of te Reo Māori everyday
  • co-construct goals with senior management team

Te Toi Tupu facilitator Merimeri Anania set about providing professional learning and development support around teaching vocabulary through the use of games and activities (BINGO, whare whare, kia koe, memory) as well as sharing rich resources such as, He Reo Tupu, He Reo Ora and Te Reo Māori in English Medium Schools. After familiarising teachers with the resources and modeling using the Communicative Language Teaching Approach, teachers are then able to modify, adapt or create resources and lessons to use at a level they are confident with in the classroom. Through a cycle of active reflection, teachers are also observed and conversations developed around effective second language teaching practices.   

Impact for teachers

As a result of this PLD, there are now more instances where the teachers involved use te reo in everyday teaching and encourage interactive activities that use te reo. For example, capturing morning roll call, greeting guests, pepeha in speeches and classroom instructions are given in te reo. Instead of gaining the students’ attention through traditional methods for example, 'eyes on me, one two, three', one teacher uses pepeha to gain the tamariki's attention, where she asks,"Ko wai te _____?" (any feature of the pepeha. ie: Ko wai te pae maunga?). The children stop what they are doing and do the action that goes with the landmark and respond, "Ko Whakapoungakau te pae maunga".  The use of te reo is a natural part of these children’s daily lives and there is also a strong sense of tikanga in these classrooms. 

The teachers involved in the PLD observe there have been some good shifts staff-wide in the confidence to use resources and follow the models for teaching that facilitator Merimeri has shared. One teacher in particular, works in a specialist way, where she teaches science to all of the students in the school. With some targeted support from Merimeri, she now considers Māori practices as well as European scientific content knowledge.

Teacher quotes

Impact for students

Over the past two terms, student inquiry has focused on Māori myths and legends (the kararehe in them) and the mara kai.  These themes have naturally lent themselves to integration of te reo in learning. While the students are using te reo more, they have also noticed teachers making an effort to use te reo in the classroom. This demonstrates their language, culture and identity are valued, as is their uniqueness as Māori. An example of an exchange between ākonga in te reo can be viewed below.  For more on Poipoia te Reo also see the Edtalks video below.

Where to from here?

With this strong foundation for teaching and supporting the use of te reo, there is anticipation that next year teachers will delve into the curriculum documents, plan units together and support each other to use te reo more, while at the same time developing a kete of ideas through collaboration.

For more information about this project visit the Te reo Māori in English-medium Schools Professional Learning and Development project page.