Maori bilingual school wins in national sign language competition

Such a heart warming story.  Learners in a Maori school win a national sign langauge competition

“We do lots of trilingual stuff all the time. They speak in English, we speak in Maori and they sign.

http://www.tenews.maori.nz/2012/08/maori-bilingual-school-te-korowai-o-te-aroha-came-runner-up-at-national-sign-language-competition/

The year 0 to year 6 Maori bilingual unit at Te Korowai o te Aroha was definitely the best in its age bracket and was the best in the North Island.

A Christchurch intermediate school won the first AUT StarSign sign language competition during national sign language week at the beginning of August but senior teacher Robin Taua-Gordon and teacher aide Khrystal Morunga say they are pleased for their kids who competed against high school students for the prize.

“We’re successful here, not in spite of where we are, but ‘because of’, you know,” Ms Taua-Gordon says. “We expect excellence in everything we do.”

The AUT competition saw schools signing the national anthem and fitted in well with the unit’s methodology.

“We do lots of trilingual stuff all the time. They speak in English, we speak in Maori and they sign.

“If you ask any child in our whanau how many official languages there are in our country, they’ll all answer three.”

The unit does have a deaf child and she says when students are signing it helps to reinforce what they’re learning in Maori.

All of the teachers helped the students to sign. And she says the students ability to sign is a benefit. The five to 11-year-olds all sign throughout their day’s education.

Te Korowai o te Aroha’s entry was recorded around the school.

Ms Taua-Gordon says that while she was editing the video, overlaying the soundtrack, they realised that they’d signed too slowly for the suggested version of the anthem.

“So I found a Dennis Marsh and it was in English and Maori and we whacked that on as a backing track,” she says. “Lots of our families like him.”

She says all she was really expecting from the video was a little bit of recognition.

And that the competition really spoke to the unit’s emphasis on inclusivity.

The school has been operating as a trilingual unit for nearly two years as they’ve strived to ensure that all their students are able to participate in the class.

“No matter what shape, size, colour, anything, we like to think all the kids know that they’re all special,” Ms Morunga says.

Olympics – Bilingual Countries Information

Just a quick post to say if you are thinking of doing something really radical and bilingual what about sign language? The Primary sign team that I wrote about recently have some free olympic countries information with really easy signs to learn.  Who is up for the challenge?

Find it here at : http://www.primarysign.com/tour.php