Torbay School Pilots Student-Led Te Reo Māori
Torbay School on Auckland’s North Shore is running a pilot to get students leading te Reo Māori in the school.
Two days a week teams of year 4-6 students lead year 3 classes in a waiata and a simple lesson on that waiata. They show
the class how they can incorporate what they have learned into their daily class routine. The classroom teacher learns
with the class and makes sure everything runs smoothly.
The waiata and lessons are from the Wai Ako
programme. Torbay School was the first school in Aotearoa New Zealand to use the programme in 2017.
The student-led te Reo Māori pilot is the brainwave of teacher Sam Boriboun, whose wife Roimata Smail created Wai Ako
, “I know from experience that children sometimes understand ideas better if they are explained by a peer rather than a
teacher. Also, children pick up new languages much faster than us adults. So I wondered if there was a way to get our
students leading the school”.
After months of preparation, the pilot began in June 2018 and so far has been a success. The students leading take their
role very seriously and make sure to encourage the class. The class is very engaged and the teachers get the chance to
model being learners too. There is a bit of a buzz around the school.
Torbay School Principal Gary O’Brien says “Torbay School is both excited and proud to be piloting the model involving
student tutors. We are working hard to develop our programmes and culture around teaching te Reo and Wai Ako breaks down
some of the barriers our teachers face, it is a superb innovation in the area of teaching te Reo. Using older students
as tutors has been a revelation, it has spin offs for students, both young and old as well as for the teachers, it
certainly is helping to imbed te Reo into our culture here at Torbay.”
Torbay School hopes to continue the pilot in 2019 and slowly expand to make it available to other classes in the school.
At the following link is a video about the pilot made by a group of Torbay School students (which is released for public
About Wai Ako
is an innovative online musical te Reo Māori programme for teachers in English medium primary schools. It is closely
aligned to the curriculum for te Reo Māori.
or "Learning Songs" uses music videos to get children and teachers singing basic phrases. Teachers learn pronunciation,
phrase structure and vocabulary along with their students. Children do not have to wait until their teacher is confident
to start learning. Wai Ako
mobilises ordinary classroom teachers so every child has the chance to learn the basics. This frees up specialists to
extend language and delve more deeply into aspects of tikanga. Wai Ako
has a strong focus on immediately transitioning into opportunities to speak te Reo Māori every day.
was launched in September 2017 and already is being used by more than 2,000 children in schools throughout Aotearoa New
To try two of the waiata for free, go to https://www.waiako.com/categories/free