Te kōrerorero: Ngā ataata
Talking together videos
Watch seven short videos from Professor Claire McLachlan, Dr Jane Carroll, and Nola Harvey unpacking Talking together, Te kōrerorero.
These videos are also included on the relevant pages throughout the online resource.
You can jump to the video you are interested in with the links below.
Using Talking together, Te kōrerorero to inform your practice:
- Ngā huarahi reorua, reohuhua, Understanding bilingual and multilingual language pathways
- He poutama mō te reo ā-waha, Stepping stones in oral language
- Te reo pānui me te reo ā-waha, Reading and oral language
- Te raweke kupu, te aroā weteoro, Word play and phonological awareness
- Te hangarau matihiko me te reo ā-waha, Digital technologies and oral language
Nola Harvey: If I was using Talking together, I know this sounds really strange, but I'd start with the back page. Now the back page is part of your sort of reflection on your work. But I thought the first two questions were really useful. When you're looking at a self assessment, what are our strengths here? And what are our areas for development? And that is the way to find out the strengths that you have in the team.
Kaiako can share that, “Oh yes, well, I do understand a little bit of Telugu.”
“Oh, I thought you spoke Indian.”
“No, I speak Telugu and Tamil as well.”
So there are ways in which you look at your own personal strengths as a kaiako. What are you like as a communicator? And are you the person that can be almost like the primary carer for that child as they are settling in that first year?
And this advice in this text tells you to look for the children's strengths. It advises you how to enrich the everyday interactions.
Professor Claire McLachlan: I think probably your point about how would you use it for self review is a very good one. Because I think that that would be a good starting place where you could go through the back of the resource and look at the questions about, is your practice basically well developed? Or is it emerging? I think you could start there.
But I think probably what I would use it for would be for self review of oral language and hopefully of early literacy in the early childhood setting.
Dr Jane Carroll: It is a very good resource for teachers to be dipping into, not just using as a one off and putting it back on the shelf or leaving it on the computer. But actually being really mindful and looking at it as an individual staff member, but also with other staff members. How does my practice complement other teachers’ practices? Are we all doing the same types of practices? Can we vary our practice? And in what way?
Professor Claire McLachlan: So we looked at the structure for oral language and for early literacy within the setting, which is how is the environment set up to support language and literacy? And secondly, we looked at process. So what are the pedagogical strategies that teachers are using to support oral language and literacy?
So I think that would be what I would do with it is I would go through, review it, think about my own practice and say, really honestly, what are the things I'm doing well, and what are the places in which I could be stretching my practice? You know, how could I strengthen what I'm doing to support young children? And then, once I've done that review, and found out how could I improve both structure and process in the setting? I would then start to think about the intentional strategies that I would use to support learning in different areas.
Dr Jane Carroll: My key message with oral language would be to talk with children, not at children. To follow their lead, but also make their language rich through your language.
Nola Harvey: We're all born with brains that actually can process two or more languages. What have I done with mine? I'm not sure. And so that's really a sort of a slow, but sure progress if the child is well. And they have a sense that they're accepted – they have a sense of belonging, that sense of identity is building. And you'll find that many still believe the myth that oh it's easy, you know children just learn a language just like that. No. They are working with two or three years experience of the world.
Professor Claire McLachlan: I think the key message is that the gift of language simply can't be underestimated. It's the greatest gift that we can give to children. And I think it's really important that we understand how powerful it is when we speak to children. And so the time spent is crucial. It gives us opportunities to support children's understanding of how to talk. It supports the building of the rich vocabulary and supports their comprehension of what it is that's being said to them. Long term, it will be the thing that makes the biggest difference as they go into school and become readers and writers.
Dr Jane Carroll: I think it's a really interesting resource for teachers to be reflecting on, you know, where do our children come into school? What sort of things would we have been expecting an early childhood to be developed? Are we seeing that? Are we not seeing that? How do we work with early childhood together?
Nola Harvey: The bilingual, multilingual language learners, particularly in the early years, will follow the same general pathways as a child who's monolingual.
The whole process of language learning in the early years is absolutely dynamic. And so it moves at the pace of the engagement, if you like, that the child has with significant others, their whānau, and in a range of contexts.
When children are processing, it's such a lot of information, if you like, from their environment, they may appear to be slow developers or slowly developing. But in fact, the processing that's going on is quite significant. Every sense is used. Every child is doing this actually. Every sense is used – smell, touch, hearing, sound – hopefully, where there aren't impairments, that bit by bit a child will start to copy and make utterances and approximations of the sounds and the gestures that they see in and around them.
That bilingual and multilingual learner then they're in perhaps three different cultural contexts each day – could be at home, then they're in a centre, then they're with Grandma, whatever it is. And so feeling comfortable – feeling a sense of belonging, “Oh I can take some risks here. I can be myself here.” It’s quite important, and how to build that safe environment. An environment where a child knows from early on that their language and their culture is accepted and recognised and used. And they will feel comfortable with it that they can use their language for learning. So some of the ways you're already guided to do that in the text here will tell you that if you're making that environment resonate with some of the cultural things, artifacts, and things that come out of that child's environment that they might see, “Oh, yes, I've got this at home. I recognise that.”
(Nola holds up the intentional teaching practice cards)
There are some really useful intentional teaching conversation reminders here in the reflective questions in these little cards. And this is just simple things that we can do every day with our little cards here that are part of our kit – Intentional teaching practices. I just love the reflective question here. I'd be asking myself this, I think, when I go into an early childhood setting. "What voices are we hearing from our collection of storybooks? What's one thing we could do to hear more stories from the families and the communities that are represented here?" You know, just sometimes that one reflective question will set you off on a pathway.
Find more information on the page: Ngā huarahi reorua, reohuhua, Understanding bilingual and multilingual language pathways.
Dr Jane Carroll: So stepping stones has a wealth of information within it around how language develops and progresses. So it's a really nice resource for teachers to be able to go back to and have a look at where children's development is at. Celebrate the successes that they have, that the children have achieved, as well as looking at how they can support the next steps for children's speech and language development.
So speech and language development isn't a skill and drill type of activity. It's a very fluid activity. Speech and language develops within a social context. It's not isolated. We don't develop our speech and language on our own. We develop it with other people. So stepping stones, actually, has some really nice ideas around developing it within the social cultural curriculum.
Find more information on the page: He poutama mō te reo ā-waha, Stepping stones in oral language.
Professor Claire McLachlan: Okay, so it's a really interesting question isn't it to think about how you might use Talking together to inform your practice. I think one of the things which is really important, and I'm sure others in the series will say the same thing, is that story reading is really, really important for supporting both oral language and for early literacy. One of the things which you can use story reading for, is in a playful and a meaningful way, you can support children to develop what are known as both constrained and unconstrained skills.
So constrained skills in terms of early literacy are things like knowledge of the alphabet and word families. You know, block, clock, lock all belong to the same word family. And you can teach that through good choice of children's books.
The unconstrained skills are things and there is, sorry, I should just backtrack. There is a limit to the number of things which are included in the constrained skills. There are only a certain number of words and letters in the alphabet. There are a certain number of word families so that they're finite. Whereas the unconstrained skills are things like phonological awareness and vocabulary, and listening comprehension. And those things are never ending, you know. I'm still learning new words and learning to comprehend new understandings.
So I think teachers can use their storybook reading to be supporting learning in both of those areas. You can also use different approaches to story reading, and they have different outcomes for children in terms of learning. So one of the approaches, which has been identified, is that you use a print referencing approach to story reading. Where, you know, you're literally pointing out that the black bits on the page are the words. And you might be emphasising, you know, that that word is an 's', and it makes the word 'splash'. So you're really emphasising the print. And the fact that those black bits tell you the words to say on the page. And that's a really useful approach for supporting knowledge of the alphabet, for supporting word recognition, for all of those sorts of things. And also understanding concepts about print – that the print goes from top to bottom, from left to right in English, and so forth.
The other approach that we might use for story reading is a dialogic or a questioning approach. And in this approach, teachers take it much more slowly. And they may not even get through the whole book. But they would stop and they would ask questions about the pictures, about what children think may happen next, about their understanding of what they've read. So they're quite different approaches. But those approaches support vocabulary knowledge. They support comprehension. So these things are all useful skills. So I think it's important that teachers think about how do they go about the reading of the book that they've chosen?
Find more information on the page: Te reo pānui me te reo ā-waha, Reading and oral language.
Dr Jane Carroll: Phonological awareness is the conscious awareness of sounds in a language. So it’s the ability to be able to reflect on the sounds and words, to manipulate parts of words.
So in early childhood, we're looking at things like rhyme and playing with language. It's not always getting the children to do rhyming, but actually making them aware even when words rhyme. So you might just make the comment, “Oh, sky and fly. They rhyme. They sound the same at the end.” Or if you're talking about sounds within words saying, “Oh fly starts with a ‘ffff’ sound. Sky starts with a ‘sss’ sound. They’re different sounds.” So that you're actually tuning children into the different variations of sounds within our language. And that can be across languages. It doesn't need to just be in English, it can be in all alphabetic or alphabetic based languages. It's across languages. What you do in one language transfers to another language.
So some of the games that you can be playing are things like, making up fun rhyming words after you've read a rhyming story. Playing I spy with the sounds. “I spy something that begins with the ‘kk’ sound.” So that it doesn't rely on children knowing letters. It relies on them listening for sounds. It’s really important that we say our sounds correctly. So that when we are playing these games with children that they're hearing just a sound, not several sounds together. So if it's things like the sound for the letter ‘c’ it could be a ‘kk’ or ‘sss’ sound not a ‘ca’ or a ‘sa’ with that extra vowel sound on the end. So keeping the sounds very pure.
Find more information on the page: Te raweke kupu, te aroā weteoro, Word play and phonological awareness.
Professor Claire McLachlan: Okay, so there's been a lot of questioning recently about the place of digital resources in early childhood settings. And whether this is something which should be encouraged.
We know from the research that actually children's engagement with digital literacies is really very little different to the engagement with hard copy. There's a need to have either peers or teachers to support children to engage with that so that they get maximum understanding. It's like any other curriculum resource. It stays sitting on the shelf and inactive without somebody to bring it to life. So it's important that we think about our principles of access and mediation in relation to digital resources.
We might also think about how we would use digital resources to support children to do their own storytelling or their own story writing. It offers both opportunities doesn't it for children to look for ideas, to encourage imagination, and for them to come up with their own version of what is important.
You can also encourage early writing by using digital resources. It might be that children are narrating their own story. They might be writing their own story.
There's a whole raft of ways in which you could use digital resources powerfully within the early childhood setting. There's a lovely study that was done recently that we published in Early Education that came out of the TLIF work, which looked at this in one of the Samoan community centres. And I think we've underestimated the usefulness of digital resources in relation to oral language and literacy.
Find more information on the page: Te hangarau matihiko me te reo ā-waha, Digital technologies and oral language.