Māori Students Learning Te Reo in Mainstream Secondary Schools (research re barriers and enablers re successful reo Māori acquisition)

Project dates: 
Aug-2000 to Jun-2001
Description of the project: 

I conducted this research while working at Te Puni Kōkiri (the Ministry of Māori Affairs). The aim of the research was to explore issues associated with Māori student participation (and retention) in mainstream Māori language programmes at secondary school. Views of students, whānau and teachers were canvassed ie a three-pronged approach, for the purpose of triangulation.

The objectives were to:

  • seek information that would improve policy advice pertaining to Māori language education; and
  • provide information to Māori communities, so that they could lobby for a system that would work better for them.
My involvement: 

It was my responsibility to:

  • write the literature review, research questions, and key discussion questions for parents, teachers and students
  • write the background information sheet for participants
  • write the background information questionnaire and ethical consent form
  • conduct the qualitative research i.e. face-to-face interviews, and focus groups with teachers, parents and students (across a demographic range)
  • write the final report (comprising an executive summary, research rationale, literature review, methodology, ethical issues, research limitations, key findings, emerging issues, conclusions, and policy implications).
Key skills used: 
  • research design
  • review of literature
  • interview skills ie face-to-face
  • facilitation e.g. focus groups
  • writing eg  reports, user-friendly information sheets, formal Cabinet papers
  • relationship building e.g. Ministry of Education

The key findings had implications for policy- makers, specifically in terms of:

  • professional development for Māori teachers re current language teaching methods
  • improved Māori language tuition during pre-service training
  • an enhanced role for information technology
  • competitive time-tabling in secondary schools
  • importance of parental involvement
  • remunerative incentives for Māori language teachers
  • highlighting the inextricable relationship between language, culture and identity
  • the need for young Māori role models.