Waikato Journal of Education


The provision of second language education in New Zealand primary schools has been, until recently, a rare addition to programmes. Its wider implementation in New Zealand primary schools has always been limited by low numbers of fluent bilingual teachers, and a perception that in a predominantly English speaking country such as New Zealand there is no need to teach additional languages in primary schools. The New Zealand Curriculum (Ministry of Education, 2007) provides the first opportunity to formally include second language education in primary schools, and to establish the learning of second languages as a worthwhile pursuit in New Zealand. However, the success of such a policy change will depend on the ability of the Ministry of Education and course providers to upskill teachers in their ability to speak additional languages and teach them. This article reports on the outcomes of a Ministry-funded project designed to strengthen the second language teaching approaches of upper primary school teachers who teach te reo Māori. It provides case studies of two of the teachers who completed this course, and finds that while there are clear benefits to be derived from such teacher professional development courses, these courses need to focus on long-term objectives and be channelled to those teachers and students who stand to benefit the most from professional development courses. 


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