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Torbay School pilots student-led Te Reo Māori

Torbay School on Auckland’s North Shore is running a pilot to get students leading te Reo Māori in the school.

Two days a week teams of year 4-6 students lead year 3 classes in a waiata and a simple lesson on that waiata. They show the class how they can incorporate what they have learned into their daily class routine. The classroom teacher learns with the class and makes sure everything runs smoothly.

Click here for a video about the pilot made by a group of Torbay School students (which is released for public use). 

The waiata and lessons are from the Wai Ako programme. Torbay School was the first school in Aotearoa New Zealand to use the programme in 2017.

The student-led te Reo Māori pilot is the brainwave of teacher Sam Boriboun, whose wife Roimata Smail created Wai Ako, “I know from experience that children sometimes understand ideas better if they are explained by a peer rather than a teacher. Also, children pick up new languages much faster than us adults. So I wondered if there was a way to get our students leading the school”. 

After months of preparation, the pilot began in June 2018 and so far has been a success. The students leading take their role very seriously and make sure to encourage the class. The class is very engaged and the teachers get the chance to model being learners too. There is a bit of a buzz around the school.

Torbay School Principal Gary O’Brien says “Torbay School is both excited and proud to be piloting the model involving student tutors. We are working hard to develop our programmes and culture around teaching te Reo and Wai Ako breaks down some of the barriers our teachers face, it is a superb innovation in the area of teaching te Reo. Using older students as tutors has been a revelation, it has spin offs for students, both young and old as well as for the teachers, it certainly is helping to imbed te Reo into our culture here at Torbay.”

Torbay School hopes to continue the pilot in 2019 and slowly expand to make it available to other classes in the school.

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