Friday, October 30, 2015

Guest Post - To Korero Or Not?

Guest Post from Kerri Thompson, founder of #BFC630NZ twitter chat, and a passionate and innovative year 7/8 kiwi teacher.  Kerri has been exploring cutting edge personalisation processes in her classroom, with fabulous results.  Her blog is 'Learningmyway'.


An emotional post after a comment directed at me by someone I don't know via a Google Form.

"I wish you wouldn't throw maori words in randomly just to be PC" (*note no capital letter used for Maori)

This was the comment which threw me, made me feel sick in my stomach, then made me angry, then made me want to think why I do it, then made me want to write about it!

So here I am!

Most people who know me will know that using the limited reo I have is a natural part of my everyday korero with colleagues and kids. I am proud that I know SOME to be able to include words and phrases naturally into some of my day-to-day 'goings on'. I know my students love it and am sure this helps build those initial connections.

My interest in #tereo began back in 1988 when I returned from Australia having been on a working holiday (back in the 'homeland'!) I decided I would take some night classes at the local High School. I took to it! All the classes were completely oral - NO WRITTEN - so I had to listen to the sounds and watch gestures to pick up the kaupapa of what was being taught. It was MAGIC.

I went onto Teachers College and from there onto Massey: Palmy 1989 - 1992 where I majored in Art and Maori. It was fantastic - being surrounded by the culture, the singing, the marae, the art, and #tereo. I remember feeling an enormous sense of pride standing up with our year group and performing Kotiro Maori alongside the other students (I also remember thinking STRONGLY that I must have some Maori ancestry somewhere as it felt so natural - I have yet to discover any anywhere!). I managed to take Te Reo up to 200 level and felt proud that I had learnt so much about this most beautiful language and culture.

During this time I was flatting with my best mate - another 'adult student' (us oldies had to stick together). Here was where I learnt the MOST. In an authentic context of everyday living - Erena used #tereo pretty fluently and would speak #tereo everyday all the time!

"Haere mai kei konei"  "Haere ki waho"    "He aha to pirangi?"

"Horoi to ringaringa"   "Ko wai tena?"    "Hei aha"

"Kaore au e mohio"    "Me ahau hoki"    "He aha to whakaaro?"

"Kua mutu koe?"     "Kei te matemoe au"    "E pehea ana koe?"

All little phrases she would use to help me learn some day-to-day reo... I have NEVER forgotten these phrases...AND there are many more.

SO after pondering most of the night and after some support from my wonderful PLN….I have come to this conclusion:

It is not me with the problem. I agree with what many of my PLN say - a little is better than none! And when #tereo slips in naturally it most certainly IS NOT an attempt to be PC. It is my way of bringing what little I can speak into everyday conversations and korero to help keep the reo alive and if it teaches some people something along the way - then that is even better!

So I won't be stopping - maybe it is time to continue to improve my use so it can be more fluent?

What are your whakaaro? Is it appropriate to use #tereo this way?

Or should I have said...

What are your thoughts? Is it appropriate to use the language this way?

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