Adapting TeachSign Units for Māori and Te Reo Settings
The TeachSign NZSL Level One curriculum was launched in 2014 and since then, has been used widely by NZSL tutors in New Zealand to teach NZSL specifically in community education settings. The level one curriculum consists of nine units with each unit building from the previous unit.
A Māori NZSL tutors advisory group, with support from ODI and TeachSign, was set up to review and discuss possible adaptations to the first three units so NZSL tutors can use these resources to teach NZSL culturally appropriately in Māori / Te Reo settings. This meeting in March 2018 was a milestone as it was the first time Māori NZSL tutors have been brought together to adapt the NZSL teaching curriculum for Māori settings.
A small curriculum development team has been set up, with Rachel Turner as the Project Leader and Rachel Walker, Curriculum Developer. Other people, such as the late Shaun Fahey, Becky West, and Lisl Agnew were involved with illustrations and colourings; Shirley Stevenson was consulted on Māori / Te Reo matters. The advisory group also included the following people: Karen Pointon, Marjorie Rako, Alana Best, Tania Reti, Eric Matthews, Richard Peri, Stephanie Awheto, and Helen Johnson. TeachSign provided curriculum design support.
Since then, units 1-3 have been adapted for teaching NZSL in Māori / Te Reo settings, and these adapted materials allow for cultural appreciation, with Māori students feeling as included as other cultures. These materials are now available on TeachSign website for members of New Zealand Sign Language Teachers Association to use. Both Māori and non-Maori NZSL tutors can use these materials to teach Māori.
Rachel Turner (Project Leader) says, “These adapted materials are very important because it will support more Māori NZSL tutors to teach NZSL in Māori settings, which means more Māori can access NZSL learning”. There is a dire need for more trilingual interpreters, and these materials are a positive step towards this goal, which in turn will benefit the Māori Deaf community in the long term.
Rachel Walker (Curriculum Developer) says, “I was invited to adapt TeachSign for Māori settings during the Māori advisory group in Anton Centre, South Auckland last year. I thought it was a great experience for me to develop materials for teaching NZSL in Māori settings. When I got started, it made me realise this is significant work because it will change people’s perspective about Māori Deaf, and their culture. It will bring hearing and Deaf Māori closer in communication and understanding cultures. I am looking forward to teaching NZSL in Māori settings soon using the TeachSign materials I’ve developed. Thank you for involving me in this project”.
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