Evaluation of te reo Māori in Englishe-medium compulsory education
The purpose of the study for this report was to understand the actual and potential contribution of the English-medium compulsory schooling sector to the revitalisation of te reo Māori. To this end, the evaluation sought to identify how te reo Māori is delivered in English medium schools; what is working; what success looks like; and what may be reasonably expected of the provision.
Ko te take o tēnei rangahau he hiahia kia mārama he aha ia te rourou tūturu mai, me te rourou torohū o te rāngai kura auraki ki te whakarauoratanga o te reo Māori. Ka mutu, i whai te aromātai kia tautohu i te āhua o te whakaako i te reo Māori ki ngā kura auraki; he aha e mahi tika ana; he pēhea te āhua o te angitū; ā, he aha hoki e tika ana kia puta mai i te whakaritenga.
English-medium schools are making a critical contribution to the revitalisation of Māori language, particularly in terms of recognising and valuing te reo Māori as a key part of our national identity. School leadership plays a key role in the success of Māori language programmes in schools. Schools that have strong programmes are led by strong leaders who actively value Māori language and its contribution to the school and the wider community. English-medium teachers in the participating schools displayed positive attitudes towards Māori language, and a critical awareness of the need to value the language. Students were also largely positive about Māori language learning and displayed a level of “politicisation” about the language and the need to keep it alive. The key driver for English-medium schools in the provision of Māori language programmes is the goal to support wider education success. Māori language is seen as a lever for strengthening Māori students’ identity and the foundation for achieving the vision of the Ministry’s Māori education strategy, Ka Hikitia (Ministry of Education, 2013b) i.e., Maori students achieving success as Maori. 10. There is a strong connection between Māori language learning and the integration of Māori culture across the curriculum, particularly in primary schools. In describing their Māori language programmes, teachers and leaders often talked about language and culture synonymously, with cultural outcomes often dominating language outcomes. The amount of time dedicated to the teaching and learning of Māori language varied across schools but was typically prioritised alongside other areas of the curriculum which were considered equally or more important. Schools face a number of challenges in sustaining their Māori language programmes. The ability of schools to deliver a Māori language programme is often dependent on the availability of a sole teacher in charge of Māori language in the school. This means that the sustainability of programmes can be fragile. The ability of English-medium primary schools to deliver programmes beyond Level 1 or Level 2 of the curriculum is severely limited by the Māori language proficiency of teachers and their knowledge of second language teaching pedagogy. This situation has led to low expectations of Māori language outcomes in English-medium primary schools. Primary school programmes typically focus on achieving outcomes aligned to Level 1 of the national curriculum guidelines. In some cases, primary school programmes attain outcomes at Level 2, but very few students are achieving beyond this level by the end of Year 8. Ministry of Education-funded professional learning and development (PLD) support and resources have reinforced this — much of the recent resource provision, via professional development and teaching and learning resources, has aimed at supporting Levels 1-2 of the curriculum. There is an obvious gap in support to primary schools beyond these levels. Low-level outcomes at primary school have a flow on effect at secondary school. It appears that current language outcomes at primary are too low to support high levels of ongoing engagement at secondary school. Those students who do continue to learn te reo Māori at secondary school are faced with having to meet the outcomes of Levels 2-6 within three years in order to achieve at NCEA Level 1.