Partial immersion te reo Māori Education : An investigative study about the forgotten other of Māori Education
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Education
Māori education has grown out of a long and varied history of Māori engagement with Western forms of schooling. Full immersion Māori learning environments such as kura kaupapa Māori emerged from a background of colonial Mission schools, Native Schools, and evolving assimilation and integration educational policies. It is the subsequent loss of language, continual Māori school underachievement and Māori struggles for indigenous self-determination that have provided the conditions in which the development of Kaupapa Māori otherwise known as Māori medium education has taken place. Māori medium education has emerged in varying forms and differing levels of Māori language immersion, although the principles and philosophies of these environments remain particularly Māori orientated. Kaupapa Māori education is largely built upon whānau aspirations and is set within a Māori framework of learning and Māori language teaching.
In addition to full immersion Māori schools there are other classroom settings that offer varied levels of Māori language instruction. Some of these classrooms have been established in English medium schools, creating a bilingual context. While full immersion schools focus on the breadth of all things Māori, bilingual schools may have a slightly different focus. May, Hill and Tiakiwai (2006 p.1) in their review of Bilingual Education in Aotearoa explain it as an area of instruction where school subjects are taught in two languages (Māori and English) and students become fluent orators and writers in both.
Little is understood about the dynamics of partial immersion programmes and the contribution these settings make to Māori language and cultural knowledge acquisition and to wider self-determination aspirations of Māori. Drawing from the contributed insights of teaching staff, whānau and other stakeholders linked to partial immersion education, this research considers these settings to better understand the relationship between language acquisition and cultural knowledge attainment. A synergy of Kaupapa Māori theory with a qualitative interpretivist approach has guided the research process. The rationale for the research was to strengthen cultural knowledge and cultural aspirations which made it appropriate to use Kaupapa Māori principles as a foundation of which to develop the research. As research is currently limited in this respect a more extensive understanding of the teaching and learning programmes within a partial immersion classroom may be paramount to their continuation and success.
Key findings emerged from the participant interviews and clear characteristics of these environments developed: Whānau (family), te reo Māori me ōna tikanga (Māori language and cultural customs) Māori values, and Māori pedagogies. The participants talked about many features particular to partial immersion education that linked to these four themes. The themes were further analysed to find key positive outcomes of these settings. A strong sense of pride in identity, particularly Māori identity and Māori succeeding as Māori were the two key positive outcomes that emerged from the participant data.
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