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St Joseph's School Onehunga - Te Reo Māori curriculum change


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Developing the programme

At the beginning of 2008 St Joseph’s School began working through the process of developing their school wide Te Reo Māori programme. This development was in part a response to the draft version of the te reo Māori Curriculum Guidelines (now in its final form since March 2009), the launch of Ka Hikitia and The New Zealand Curriculum document. The undertaking was also driven by a staff desire to improve their existing Te reo Māori programme.

The Te Reo Māori Team at St Joseph’sts created a resource kit to be used in classrooms, that was built on the knowledge and skills the teachers already had. They also focused on creating a framework and structure for staff to begin the planning process for their teaching and learning programme.

The school took part in professional development aimed at developing te reo in the classrooms as well as increasing teacher confidence in the ability to use te reo. A school philosophy and approach to the teaching and learning of a second language was developed. There is now an emphasis on using the language alongside the children and on modeling te reo in the classrooms. Many of the teaching resources support this approach. The teachers have focused on their own learning, which has helped to develop an active and positive culture around speaking te reo, and is helping to embed the language in the school culture.

The staff are aware of the importance of tikanga Māori in the school and embedding te reo with tikanga. The school has tried to integrate Māori customs and protocols into other learning area programmes and into the wider school culture. The school acknowledges their kaumatua, their past pupils and parishioners, and the importance of the local community.

A feature of the school’s professional development programme has been having the support of a Te Reo Māori Advisor. Staff have been able to work alongside the school’s advisor in the classroom and during professional development, to improve their skills and knowledge and to observe and discuss good practice. This has helped enable staff to try out new ideas and practices in their classrooms. Staff confidence has grown as they have worked together to create new resources-to support their teaching and learning programmes. This type of support may be available through the community, whānau, local iwi and organizations offering professional development.

The future

Early in 2009 a Home School partnership meeting for parents and caregivers was attended by over one hundred people, keen to hear about new initiatives and teaching approaches and willing to take part in discussions about how to help their children succeed at school.

Staff have worked together to create a planned approach to their teaching and learning programmes and they now have supporting documentation and resources. To embed te reo me ōna tikanga within the culture of the school St Joseph’s staff want to continue the journey, building on their own knowledge and skills, providing support to each other while also continuing to build on developing their school community as a valuable resource.

“All the teachers are working now from the same plan, they can see the progressions and that what they are trying to do is achievable. The way we have approached our planning and teaching has created a positive climate in the school as teachers have worked together. Teachers are prepared to take risks and try new approaches knowing they can support each other and that they are all taking part in new learning alongside the children.”

Principal Andy Thompson

ka hikitia

Published on: 26 Aug 2009