Languages link people locally and globally. They play a role in shaping our understanding of the world. Language links us to the past and give us access to new and different streams of thought and to beliefs and cultural practices. St Thomas Aquinas Primary school has many close relationships with the peoples of New Zealand, including a high number of our students and families. Te reo Māori is an official language of New Zealand and is spoken by many members of our school community.
At St Thomas Aquinas Primary School we recognises the knowledge that both teachers and learners bring to learning interactions, and know that new knowledge and understandings can grow out of shared learning experiences. Our teachers are active co-learners of te reo Māori who work in partnership with native speakers and their students to facilitate reciprocal teaching and learning roles in their classrooms.
Learning a new language extends all students’ linguistic and cultural understanding and their ability to interact appropriately with other speakers. Interaction in te reo Māori introduces our students to new ways of thinking about, questioning, and interpreting the world and their place in it. Through such interaction, students acquire knowledge, skills, and attitudes that equip them for living in a world of diverse peoples, languages, and cultures. As they learn a language, students develop their understanding of the power of language. They discover new ways of learning, new ways of knowing, and more about their own capabilities. Learning a language provides students with the cognitive tools and strategies to learn further languages and to increase their understanding of their own language and culture.