17 May 2016

Let's talk about pronunciation

I had the privilege of being invited to Manurewa Central School and one of the first topics for discussion was this-correct pronunciation of te reo Māori. For so many of us we have tried unsuccessfully to pronounce te reo correctly, or perhaps felt berated for incorrect delivery. We have cultivated the fixed mindset of "I'm not a languages person".

It gets a bit delicate when talking about pronunciation. If you make a huge deal out of incorrect pronunciation people often feel affronted. Sometimes these feelings are enough to cause one to give up and be put off even trying. If we choose to not target it, words can be misunderstood and important names of people and places have a loss of mana. 
Listen to what these rangatahi have to say about pronunciation of their names. They have some good advice for us! 
What came through clearly in our discussion was that many kaiako are so respectful of the language, that they are not wanting to mispronounce words and especially names for fear of being disrespectful. I get the feeling that in actual fact almost everybody wants to be able to speak Māori but it's a case of where do I start and how do I do it? 
I think as Kaiako we are in a perfect situation of being a learner alongside other learners. The big advantage in teaching te reo is that you can learn by teaching. For me planning and delivering lessons was the most effective way of accelerating my reo. So, to begin with, we need the right mindset.

As simple as growth mindset is, it continues to be my approach to learning. 

To me it's like a proven trusted path to follow. You just simply stay in the waka and keep going, learning along the way!
"Pai tū pai hinga nāwai rā ka oti" Brush yourself off when you make a "mistake" and haere tonu...keep going. Get back on track.
If we as kaiako tell our ākonga that "mistakes are opportunities for learning" and "effort will make all the difference" we too can model that in our learning.

The next step is having some resources. These could be other kaiako, websites, waiata, recordings, Tōku reo, He reo tupu he reo ora.
Let's start with this great website. It is from Otago University and it has sound bites for  vowels, consonants and diphthongs (vowel blends). Just select a male or female voice and fire away! Once you get those vowel sounds correct you're three quarters of the way there. Te reo is so consistent with it's sounds.

Of course there is no going past our good old tried and trusted waiata 
a ha ka ma na to practice those rhyming sounds.
Then you may like to share this cool little waiata with your tamariki or staff.
Ki mai māori, ki mai.... (say it to me in Māori) Kia ora Springston tube!

To practice some important kupu here is another fab website with sound bites. It includes the 100 Māori words every New Zealander should know.
The trickiest vowel blend for most new learners seems to be the "au" blend which sounds like the letter o. Luckily for us there is an amazing little waiata written by Pita Sharples called "Ka tangi te kurī e". The waiata can be found on TKI "Hei waiata hei whakakoakoa" scroll down that page and its number 12. Also Miss Ogle whoever you are, wherever you are, thank you for uploading all these waiata on Youtube. (Ngā mihi nunui ki a koe)

Whakarongo click here to listen to this little wai.
Here is a link for this waiata (ppt) for you to download. There are some questions to ask your tamariki.
 (Try to always have a question to ask from newly acquired knowledge)
He aha te tangi a te kurī? (What is the cry of the dog?)
For you QR coders, the tamariki can scan and sing the waiata from their device.
What I love about waiata is that the tamariki can learn by listening without us having to learn then teach the waiata and they are hearing correct pronunciation.
QR code for "Ka tangi te kurī e" then press the underlined first line of the waiata 

OK so we're getting somewhere.
Scotty Morrison has a good little pukapuka "Māori Made Easy"
He has these Youtube clips to help with the pronunciation of some well known words. Even if these are words you are not ready to use yet, it is good to get your ear attuned to the rhythm and intonation of this beautiful language.

Instead of snuggling up with netflix  on a Friday night there are some lovely episodes of Waka huia (with subtitles) that you can watch.
This post is definitely a "to be continued....." post.
Do you know of any helpful websites to add to these? Let me know if you find these links helpful. (In the comments below)
Kia pai te rā ki a koutou!
Ngā mihi

12 May 2016

Te reo-the functional chunks

As teachers of te reo we need to provide students with many opportunities to use the language they are learning.  However, students often do not get enough opportunity to use the language.
I remember a wise person saying to me “the person doing all the talking is doing all the learning” in a second language class. Often that is the Kaiako.
Functional Chunks of Language are phrases or expressions that students learn as a chunk without necessarily understanding the grammatical structure.  However they learn where and when to say the phrases when communicating (i.e. the function). Functional Chunks of Language will empower students to use the language often. These phrases might include:
  •      I have a question
  •         What page?
  •      oops, sorry my mistake
  •     Yes/no
  •      I don’t understand

Because so many of us are learning te reo Māori as we teach it, questions and commands  are good functional chunks for the Kaiako to use as they are often repeated many times. I know many of you are using these "shout outs" as a prompt and to get you started using te reo.
  After referring to the shout outs a few times you will be impressed by how quickly students learn and use them.  It may pay to explicitly go over them a few at a time and praise those who use them.  If a student attempts to make a comment or ask a question in English that is one of the functional phrases on the wall point to it and have all the tamariki say it in te reo Māori.
Now, it is my preference to have signage in te reo Māori only but I know many of you prefer having the english translation underneath. I have done this for most of them.
These are great to have as a reference on the wall. They also serve to empower the ākonga as they can see what they have learned.
These shout outs are an updated version of previous ones and I have been asked by so many of you for copies of them. Download from below. Are there any other high frequency phrases that would be useful?

Download these functional chunks below

Let me know how they work out for you!

9 May 2016

Te marae- 2 fabulous apps to use with your inquiry!

I often get asked of digital tools to introduce topics or demonstrate the learning experience in the te reo Māori classroom. Here are three of my favourites that are pretty easy to use. Seriously, if I can use them anyone can. Notice this blog is not called The techno-Māori classroom!

With Telligami begin by customising your avatar. There are no child figures but the ākonga seem to like being adults! From there you can choose a background either from your own camera roll or from the app.
For this example I've used a short Pepeha as part of the "Ko au" unit. To use in conjunction with your Marae visit here are some possibilities:

  • tell a story of the Marae
  • karanga
  • explain the pōwhiri process
  • introduce someone
  • use as part of the  Thinglink photo (see below)
  • you tell me!

I love this app. It is a perfect tool for the second language classroom. ThingLink is a free and user friendly digital tool that provides users with the ability to turn any image into an interactive graphic. Create multiple “hot spots” on specific parts of an image and turn that image into a story. Include video, record audio or provide a link to any website with the click of a button. Easily embed an interactive ThingLink graphic into any blog or website. ThingLink is a truly amazing tool that allows users to pack a lot of content into a small space.
For the example below various parts of the photo are hot spotted. The interactive nature keeps it fun and also enables the user to make the picture come "alive". Plenty of possibilities right?
I like to also have some other audio files to help with pronunciation.This is a helpful site.
The possibilities are endless:

  • naming parts of the marae/wharenui
  • explaining the carvings and their meaning
  • including waiata
  • sequencing of events
As a kaiako I'm sure you have plenty of ideas. That's one of our many pukenga.(skills ) -being creative.
So go ahead. Hover the curser over the page and push the dots! Find the two Kaikaranga and "whakarongo ki ngā karanga."

Tuuaahua-Statives in the te reo classroom


Last week at Te Aupikitanga we were re-united with tūāhua. Here is some explanation and a link below to tōku reo for some whakaharatau.

1. Stative verbs in Māori are words that indicate a statecondition or quality (rather than an activity or an event-adjectives used as verbs). 

2. These stative verbs are recognized by their translation of to be something’ to be in a state.  They are verbs showing a completed condition.

3. Stative verbs are not something you work out by the context of a story. They are something you must know and recognise (there are heaps of them). 

4. The structure of stative verbs in sentences is similar to passives in that you don’t use the i/ki as object markers.

5. The ‘i’ in this sentence indicates what is responsible for the state or condition. (“i”= by/with)

6. Statives can be used with the following sentence starters – Kua, ka and I. They cannot be used with the following sentence starters 
 kei te or I te.

Kua mahue te tamaiti i te pahi.
The boy was left behind by the bus.

To be
To be
Used up
Avenged/paid for
Left behind
Be close/near

6 May 2016

Growth mindset in the te reo Maori classroom

Fixed mindset vs growth mindset.
 As a teacher I practice growth mindset in the akomanga but as I am discovering I have been holding many fixed growth mindset thoughts as a learner.
 This year I decided to embark on a year long te reo  journey to further my te reo. So biting the proverbial bullet I enrolled in Te Wānanga o Aotearoa ki Manukau to experience the rumaki reo o Te Aupikitanga.Rumaki reo is full immersion class where only te reo Māori is spoken.
I chose this particular course for 2 reasons;
  1. The tutors/pouako are two of the very best there are. They are patient, clever wahine demonstrating manaakitanga and tikanga in every aspect of their being.
  2. In order for me to extend my reo I was needing  a full immersion environment  (memory issues!) This is the only course at this level where I am able attend 4 days per week from 9-2.(whoop whoop) Oh and did I mention it is FREE?
It also meant I could continue my PD work.
As a Practitioner I have always tried to have a non-threatening learning environment. But being in the seat of the learner certainly is a scary place to be, no matter how "gentle" the environment is. I was about to experience that again.
Day one. The fear. Standing up to introduce ourselves and mihi to the rest of the class.
 I have done this so many times before. No matter how often I stand to speak it never feels totally comfortable. What if I make a mistake or use a wrong word? Forget " there's no such thing as a mistake". Right now is not the time for learning from my "mistakes".
Before it was my turn I was half listening to the speakers before me and trying to construct a half decent kōrero. Shall I be short and sweet, or try to put some cleverness or funny kīwaha in to the mihi? No. No-one likes a smarty pants. I'll just keep it basic.
 After the short relief that the mihi part was over it was time for me to sing my waiata. 
The panic set in. Maybe the tune or words won't come out of the tensed up voice box or I might forget the words. And... I did forget the words, and the squeaks were at least in tune.

So after the first month of uneasiness I questioned all of my insecurities and one day it just got too much." I'M GOING TO GIVE UP. I'm too busy, I don't need this." Blah  blah blah.
The discomfort and feelings of not being as good as I wanted to be, were too strong. Added to all of that my wonderful classmates are so good at speaking te reo and I just felt too intimidated. Obviously our Pouako is quite used to that because she gave us the opportunity to express any worries or concerns  about our learning.The thing is, the kaupapa is awesome. The other tauira are amazingly kind and inspirational.The work is pitched at the right level. Our tutors are beautiful human beings. So what's the problem? Learning, being in the learners seat like all those tamariki we teach every year- it's not easy! Actually, IT IS HARD BEING A LEARNER!
So I had a good talk to myself. This course is something I have wanted to do for the past 2 years. I have to say one of the most important aspects of learning te reo is actually learning about the culture through the spoken words. The depth and spiritual connection, the wairua, the connection to land and to each other...it's all beautiful.The process.The journey.It is all relative and to be enjoyed.
Above my desk I have one of my favourite whakataukī.

Pai tū pai hinga nāwai rā ka oti

Whakataukī to use with growth mindset

Good to stand, good to fall, eventually the work is completed. As with many whakataukī this has somewhat different meanings to different people. To me this has been effective in getting me back on track.
You begin your learning journey and stay focused on your goals.
 You will have times where you fall over, have difficulties and make " mistakes".This is your opportunity to take growth mindset action, talk back to your fixed mindset with your growth mindset voice. When you have made your decision to carry on, stand up again, move forward. The getting up and falling may happen again BUT if you continue eventually your goal will be completed.It's the journey, the climb the process.
Part of the work I have been implementing in a school is based on te reo Māori/growth mindset material. The poster below has the whakataukī and in the thought bubbles are some prompts for growth mindset.

Growth mindset

Then the thought bubbles can be filled in by the ākonga.

Growth mindset worksheet

So here I am, looking forward to next term to return to Te Aupikitanga and through this "mindset" process I am more relaxed about the outcome and focused on the journey and the incredible wisdom of the kaiako and of my other classmates. I'm grateful to have the space to actually work on my own growth mindset. It sure does relieve the pressure.     So for now....
"If I don't try I automatically fail.Where's the dignity in that?"Thanks Carol Dweck 
If you would like to try this whakataukī and growth mindset sheet download below.

Have you used whakataukī with growth mindset in your akomanga? Please leave a comment if you have any pearls of wisdom to share.
If you would like to be notified when new material is posted leave your email address in the subscription box.
If you are considering Te Aupikitanga or would like some further inspiration to learn or improve your te reo have a watch of this clip of Jennifer Ward Leyland and hear about her te reo journey.

ngā mihi,