Talking Together, Te Kōrerorero

Issue: Volume 99, Number 18

Posted: 5 November 2020
Reference #: 1HADr0

A new resource for kaiako braids together western and Māori knowledge bases around talking and communication and will be enriching for children, whānau and teachers, says Emma Parangi, centre manager for Our Kids in Glen Eden, Auckland.

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Communication and oral language acquisition are key parts of child development and learning says Emma Parangi, pictured here with three-year-old Ilaria.

Our Kids was one of four early learning services involved in the trial of Talking Together, Te Kōrerorero, a new resource for teachers supporting children’s growth in oral language.

The new online tool supports kaiako to grow and connect their knowledge base of oral language with effective teaching practices. It supports the fostering of oral language development of children across culturally and linguistically diverse early learning services. 

The resource supports the implementation of Te Whāriki, particularly strengthening an oral language focus in Mana Reo so that all children experience a language-rich environment where they develop verbal communication skills for a range of purposes.

Knowledge woven together

Our Kids(external link) manager Emma Parangi has knowledge of both Māori and western knowledge bases around oral language development, and says the braided river model referenced will be useful for all kaiako and teachers.

“It’s similar to Te Whāriki in that it reflects that weaving together of ideas and different world views but then it extends it a bit by saying that the action of weaving those ways of knowledge together actually changes them. And then there’s the ongoing metaphor of the streams branching out because they have been woven together. I think that’s quite impactful.

“There’s the idea of recognising the cultural knowledge base of a child that will potentially be different from anyone else in the learning community. It makes you question that idea of the teacher as an expert, and rather take an approach of supporting language development from the perspective that you are both bringing a different world view. For example, I bring a Māori or New Zealand Pākehā world view and a child from an Indian whānau will come with that world view and knowledge base,” explains Emma.

Early years critical

Research shows the early years are a critical time in terms of rapid language development. Kaiako can support this by becoming knowledgeable and capable in supporting children’s oral language growth so that they become strong in their identity, language(s) and culture. 

Emma says she has already identified ideas and strategies that will strengthen existing practices, make them more robust and better reflect the multicultural learning community at Our Kids. 

“For example, the bilingual and multilingual section talks about having a lot of resources that are reflective of children’s home languages. We have lots of books in te reo Māori, some in Pasifika languages, but we don’t have much text in other languages which are reflective of our families and our learning community.

“We have several teachers who speak other languages in our teaching team; it might just be incorporating a single word, or something that is descriptive of a state of being or a way that you might be feeling. Just making those connections across the languages that are present in our community is where I think it will be most applicable for us.”

She says there can be a gap in teacher knowledge around how children acquire more than one language and the understanding that if children are working in two languages, the rate of language acquisition will be different than a child who is just hearing English at home. 

“That’s the important thing, that we’re recognising that the learning process is going to look different for each child and that if we understand the reason for that, then we are better able to support it.”

Aligns with Te Whāriki

Communication and oral language acquisition development are key parts of child development and learning, says Emma.

Te Whāriki recognises the broad umbrella of all communication skills. You need to be able to communicate to be able to exist in the world, form secure relationships with others, and recognise your own needs. I think this will be really beneficial as a resource for my teaching team to point people in the direction of, for example, a section on describing feelings where there are practical tools and applications of ideas that can be tried and also some easily accessible background theory.

“I have picked out things which stand out for me which might be because of my own cultural background, or because of particular children or whānau that I’m working with right now. But I think that’s the strength of a resource that covers a lot, because a teacher in a different space may resonate with, and use, a different part of it.”


About Talking Together, Te Kōrerorero

  • Talking Together acknowledges the important role of kaiako, parents and whānau in fostering children’s oral language growth in the first 1,000 days of a child’s life when foundational brain architecture is being established.
    The resource links to the Ministry of Education’s resource He Māpuna
    Te Tamaiti: Supporting Social and Emotional Competence in Early Learning and is informed by international and Aotearoa research.
  • Talking Together provides a response to the Extending Their Language – Expanding Their World report by ERO in 2017, which identified the need for strengthening effective teaching practice for children’s oral language learning and development in early learning services and schools.
  • Talking Together supports the implementation of Tau Mai te Reo: The Māori Language in Education Strategy 2020. The resource contributes to the Key Action of giving clear direction to education services about their role in integrating Māori language in early learning contexts.
  • Talking Together, Te Kōrerorero is accessible to kaiako on Te Whāriki Online(external link)A book format will be available before the end of 2020. 

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 10:55 am, 5 November 2020

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