We know very little about how tamariki are using te reo Māori in immersion schooling situations. This has a massive range of consequences for teaching: from supporting learning in individual classrooms through to the nationwide production of appropriate written material for use in kura. The Tuhi Māhorahora project will build a corpus of children’s writing in Māori which will allow us to understand children’s written expression in immersion settings and answer questions such as: How do our tamariki use te reo Māori? How does their use of Māori develop over time? How can we support and improve the use of Māori by teachers in classrooms? How can we more accurately and effectively improve curriculum and written material for use in Māori immersion classrooms?
The Tuhi Māhorahora project will address these important research questions by collecting samples of children’s written Māori from participating immersion schools. The children’s writing will be entered into a database and analysed in order to provide targeted feedback to participating teachers to improve their teaching practice and use of te reo Māori in classrooms. In addition, the children’s writing will rapidly form an extremely powerful corpus of written Māori which will be of invaluable benefit nationwide in the production of, and effective use of, written material for school use. The project will initially continue with data collection from participating kura in the Christchurch area with strong potential to expand through the Resource Teacher of Māori network to a national scale.
The set up phase of this project is currently being supported by seeding funding from the New Zealand Institute of Language, Brain and Behaviour. We have significant software support through the Institute’s software programmer Robert Fromont and the use of the LaBB-CAT software which will facilitate interrogation of the material in the database. We will be able to give accurate information about how children at various ages and with various language backgrounds and environments are using and developing their te reo Māori written skills over time.
Project Leader: Jeanette King
Associate Investigators: Mary Boyce, Christine Brown