Te huritao me te pakirehua i te ako i te reo ā-waha
Reflection and inquiry about oral language
Reflection and inquiry both support kaiako professional learning and contribute to improved learning outcomes for tamariki. Te Whāriki describes the key responsibilities of kaiako. One of these is for kaiako to be “thoughtful and reflective about what they do, using evidence, critical inquiry, and problem solving to shape their practice” (Te Whāriki, page 59).
Reflective kaiako critically examine their thinking, attitudes, values, and practices, and they learn from experience. Through inquiry, they use multiple sources of evidence to inform changes to their practice aimed at improvement.
Bringing a reflective, inquiring frame of mind to assessment, internal evaluation, and curriculum planning is vital. It allows you to draw together evidence, experience, critical thinking, and knowledge about effective, inclusive pedagogies to develop and trial approaches and evaluate progress.
Download the self-assessment tool in te reo Māori or English:
Here are some questions to consider in regards to the progression of oral language learning:
- What are our intentional teaching strategies to support children’s oral language progress?
- What do recent assessments tell us about the progress of individuals and groups of children in our service?
- What further information do we need to seek to better understand the different language needs of infants, toddlers, and young children? Refer to Stepping stones in oral language and Understanding bilingual and multilingual language learning pathways.
- What are we doing for those children who need additional support in communication?
- What opportunities are there for us to develop and articulate a shared understanding about children’s progress in language and communication?
- How can we better make use of relevant Talk tools as a teaching team? Which strategies will we focus on? When and with which groups of children or individuals?
Further reflective questions on communication are on page 45 in Te Whāriki.
Planning professional learning
Planning ongoing professional learning is critical for kaiako to develop their capability to support the cultural and linguistic diversity of all children in an inclusive environment.
Kaiako, leaders, and teaching teams will identify priority areas for growing their knowledge base, skills, and experiences.
Consider learning more about:
- how language and communication develops
- ways to incorporate phonological awareness (recognising and working with the sounds of spoken language) playfully into the curriculum
- kaiako interactions and practices that encourage language learning
- bilingualism, biliteracy, multilingualism, and multiliteracy
- supporting home languages
- languages and cultures represented within your service and community.
Cultural capability frameworks to help identify learning goals and track progress:
- Tātaiako: Cultural capabilities for teachers of Māori ākonga
- Tapasā: Cultural capabilities for teachers of Pacific children
Good leadership establishes networks based on respectful, reciprocal partnerships beyond the service. Such networks create new and existing relationships to draw on when you need professional advice.
These could include:
- networks connected to your service, for example, families, community groups, and mana whenua
- refugee and new migrant services, for example, translation services
- specialist support services, for example, deaf community networks.
- He Māpuna te Tamaiti: Supporting social and emotional competence in early learning, pages 93-95. A downloadable PDF is located on the He māpuna te tamaiti page.
- Ball, C. E. (2012) Masters thesis. The richness diversity brings: Diverse languages and literacies in early childhood education. Auckland: Auckland University of Technology.