Equitable distribution across the sector
Overall the kura felt that the distribution of books needed to be equitable and fair and determined by the needs of the kura. Some kura were well resourced with titles and were reluctant to destroy the books because they had been relevelled. Stickers to cover the old level stamp with the new stamps were considered a sustainable option for those who wanted to keep their existing stock.
Some schools already have lots of these titles. So how will that work when the relevel? ‘Cos you won’t want to just waste the books and throw them out just because of relevel. I’d hate to think they would have to get new books for all the schools when most of them are the same.
Dual medium and kura who were relatively new to the Māori medium sector lacked an appropriate stock of te reo Māori readers for all ages and would benefit from multiple copies of each Ngā Kete Kōrero book. For example one kura has been total immersion for five years therefore their te reo Māori resources were limited relative to kura who had been established for a longer period.
We don’t have many titles, ‘cos we started probably later…this is our fifth year in immersion…where most of the books were out of print. Whereas, like kura who have been operating for ages, I know ‘cos i came from one, we had heaps… so we don’t get books on a regular basis, or sent to us at all. Even the free Ministry ones we don’t get them.
The general view therefore was that a more tailored approach was recommended when distributing resources that was equitable to all kura and cost-effective.
Print versus e-copies
All the kura felt that e-copies would be helpful especially if it had hyperlinks that guided the teacher to specific activities and/or teaching notes; and guided the reader to embedded audio files and/or kupu whakamārama for example. There was also a demand for digital books or books that used advanced digital technology e.g. Q codes to advance student learning. One kura felt that digitising the books would make them easy to access especially for dual medium kura who had difficulty accessing multiple copies of books especially those that have gone out of print.
I was also wondering around the digitalisation of some of these pukapuka especially because we’re finding it so difficult to get our hands on them and when we do have them they’re a taonga, they’re precious to us… I know that there are some kaiako, not here, but some kaiako that don’t send them home because of the danger of them not coming back and then we know that we can’t really replace them easily, so the Ministry should look at providing some digital copies of some of these pukapuka in the future considering that Hangarau Matihiko is the way that they’re heading us all down.
All the kura however were reluctant to see electronic versions of books completely replace print copies, especially in schools and communities where they did not have the technology or connectivity (in the home) to support online resources.
Copies of books
All of the kura considered a reasonable number of copies per title was ten. This more than accommodated the average size of their reading groups. One copy of each title or anything less than five was insufficient.
Absolutely need multiple copies. I need a copy to read along with kids, and with little ones they often damage the books and when books go home they don’t always come back so we need 10 copies.
One kura also thought it would be useful to distribute books grouped by kete.
I think send them groups of books, so all Harakeke together etc. because It’s easier to box them... I’ve had books come in and you’ve got like all different levels and it’s just a pain in the butt to split them all up and then having to box them, actually I was just doing it in the holidays and thought, this is so boring I could be doing something else.
Timing of the books
Kura felt the ideal time to send out new resources was at the end of term (ideally term four) or the beginning of term one to coincide with their planning and assessment of ākonga.
I’d really like new books to arrive term 4 to prep for the new-year, or if it has to come out in a term, at the end of the term before because during the holidays there is an expectation that you’re planning your reading and you’ve got these resources to use.
It should be noted that while all the kura were using Ngā Kete Kōrero books not all the kura and kaiako fully understood the framework. Those who were using Ngā Kete Kōrero books felt that it had been a while since they received any professional development or refreshed guidelines to support their use of Ngā Kete Kōrero.
I’ve never ever once been to a PD where they’ve pulled out Kete Kōrero books and said here’s all the learning and all the ways you can teach it…. So, the gap is there, you can give them the tool but you’ve gotta teach them how to build with it.
A few kaiako referred to assessment generally but none of the kaiako talked about books that could be used for assessment purposes.
Kaiako felt that refreshed guidelines with professional development support for kaiako to review the levels, to review how to assess and transition students, and how to maintain running records is essential to using the pukapuka to support reading in kura.
We need to have PD in Ngā Kete Kōrero because at the moment its caught not taught and we only really learn from our mates and that takes time and is not planned or focused.
The need for professional development was shared by another kura who felt that reading was more than just being able to read a book; rather kaiako needed support to extend learner comprehension, inquiry and inferencing.
The books are great and the books will go back to what they need to do but I think that if we’re trying to encourage more robust pānui tikanga in Kura Kaupapa Māori we have to get a little bit real about teaching people to use them as tools rather than defaulting to answer three questions, fill in the blanks and stamp you’re there.
One kura had a specific preference for using people who were already familiar with the kura and therefore could engage in critical discussions to support their professional learning and development.
What has worked in the past is using people that are in positions or roles already that have relationships with kaiako then the connection around asking hard questions and tricky questions are already able to put in the conversation as opposed to new faces. For instance, we have RTM’s, we have current PLD providers that work within our kura who could roll this out.
The opportunity to review the books, the professional support and the framework in 12 to 18 months was also recommended in order to gather kura and kaiako feedback and reflections on what worked well and where further improvements could be made.
I don’t want to review the heck out of this but there needs to also be some sort of place to say “oh that’s not working”… why put pūtea into something that’s not working or why not up the ante if its doing mean?
This sentiment was reflected in another concluding comment by a kaiako who felt that this current process of reviewing the relevelled books was a good opportunity to reflect on how well they were using the books in their current reading programmes and what could work better.
It’s pretty exciting to be able to share our… I feel like that some of the paper pushers versus the ground workers are so far apart from what actually is reality for some of our tamariki, so for you to come in and listen to our whakaaro and to take back some of the positives and the struggles we’ve had is a value to us, because it makes us reflect on how we are also implementing this pukapuka into our programme….when you have a purpose or when you can see that you’re talking about all this investment that’s coming from it, we want it to be successful and work.
One kura felt that ideally each set of books would be accompanied by a set of guidelines or information sheet explaining to kaiako how to use the relevelled resources effectively, and ready-made lesson plans and follow up activities to support their learning.
Another kaiako thought that a database of the Ngā Kete Kōrero books with the original and the new levels would be useful to support the kaiako to engage in the changes and the purpose of the changes.
I know that for us we had some PLD providers that gave us a heads up about this last year …we got given a spreadsheet of all the pukapuka and particularly what the original level was and the revised level. So a database that says what the title is, what that level is and the linguistic features and indicative themes, text purpose and stuff so it gives you a little about the pukapuka would be useful. It helped me have a look and see what to choose, what to select… so if something like this was made available across the sector it would be quite helpful for all kaiako.
Kura were also asked whether they would be interested in writing their own books for their context and tamariki. While there was some specific interest in writing material that was more relevant for their ākonga and to their rohe most kaiako did not have the time to write their own content. There was also a demand for iwi stories that were written in the dialect of that iwi that were relevant to their rohe. However this needed to be a collaborative approach.
Absolutely want to be a part of writing our own books. Love exposing children to other dialects however would like iwi / dialectal relevant books written by iwi people with iwi stories…I think that iwi should be able to collaborate with our iwi and make specific books around this area.
One kaiako that had a specific interest in writing and supporting iwi input into content was concerned about ownership of the content if funded by government.
I want to write books that reflect tuakiri o te tangata, I want to write books that reflect ngā kōrero o Whakaue, o Tumahaurangi… I just get really scared though ‘cos if you capture it and give it to a government department, where does it end up?
One kaiako felt that tamariki should have the opportunity to submit content relevant to them that could be developed into published text.
All tamariki should have the opportunity to write a story for publishing – this could be the system to modernize the levels and story contexts, and it would support the writing process and fully support up and coming authors.
Topics kaiako felt would be of interest to ākonga included sports, gaming and digital technology. In addition books that were cross-curriculum and supported specific behaviours would also be useful for example, how to be kind, how to manage conflict, how to handle frustration, how to avoid dangerous and challenging situations and/or how to deal with emotions in order to reinforce positive behaviour. Books that encouraged imagination and creativity were also valued.
When you look at the pākehā side they have imaginative books and stories, we need more of them, need more design features that switch up the style so they are not one dimensional in style and can grab kids interest.