The following fact sheet #6 is a brief overview of chapter 5 only, in the Wai262 Waitangi Tribunal report, which identifies issues about Te Reo Māori. Go to ‘Ko Aotearoa Tēnei’ chapter 5 for full details of the Tribunal’s findings and recommendations in Te Taumata Tuarua, Vol 2 pdf.
Quote from the Te Reo Māori report, chapter 5:
“The declining participation in Māori-medium education has not been caused by lack of demand from Māori parents, but by a shortfall in supply of quality teachers, which in turn was the result of a failure of imagination and planning in the education bureaucracy”
The report clearly emphasises a partnership for Māori language teaching and learning, retention and revitalization between Māori and the Crown and locates Māori in a position of responsibility in these efforts, which have been ongoing for over twenty five years. I believe that on the Crown’s part, the Ministry of Education must play a more critical key role in that partnership and ensure that employed language experts can identify key technical language issues in Te Reo Māori teaching and learning in order to contribute more meaningfully and robustly to the design and implementation of a curriculum for the way Te Reo is delivered in the classroom. In addition, this would include providing sufficient resources and some form of professional assistance to inform and educate classroom teachers, to become ‘quality teachers’ in their quest not only to educate themselves, but more importantly to educate their students.
If language experts are uncertain or ambiguous about specific technical language issues and related implications for Te Reo Māori pedagogy and its place and function in the broader curriculum framework, then how are teachers expected to understand the technicalities of such complex issues and know-how when it comes time for implementation in the classroom?
Why, then is there a ‘shortfall in supply of quality teachers‘ (in Te Reo)? Finding answers to this question may help find solutions to this current plight. During my Master’s year in applied linguistics, I learnt two key principles that are critical for the language teacher in both theory and practice, and although we are talking about school teachers in general in this particular context, the principles still apply. That is, to be a ‘competent teacher’ and a ‘meticulous planner’ Johnson (personal communication, 2009) and by adding the principle of ‘imagination‘ from the above quote makes an excellent component for inclusion in this formula.