Thumbnail Image

The effectiveness of the silent way method in the teaching of Maori as a second language

The socio-linguistic survey of Benton (1979) provides evidence to show that the continued existence of the Maori language is seriously threatened. The national Department of Education is implementing a policy of Maori language and culture studies in schools, but the scale and depth of this commitment is restricted by limited resources and expertise. The schools alone cannot stem the threat to the Maori language. Harnessing the resources within Maori communities would appear to be a necessary step toward language maintenance. The most useful of these resources are the native speakers of the Maori language. A community-based training programme aimed at equipping such people for the teaching of Maori as a second language would provide a much needed facility for both community and school. The only teacher training programme presently available to native speakers of the language is a one year course offered through Teachers Colleges. Since only a select few can avail themselves of this opportunity, there is a need for an alternative training programme which will cater for greater numbers and release more teachers into the community. A community-based, on the job, periodic training programme with minimal disruptions to family life and work commitments, would probably be preferred to a long-term, institutionalised, away-from-home programme. Initially, the training programme might need to be quite specific, i.e. native speakers might be initiated into the use of a particular language teaching method and programme which has been planned, tested and found to be suitable. Given a highly specific programme, trainees might be able to start·teaching after an initial short course of a week. Thereafter, training sessions could be paced and spaced so that teachers could continue to grow in strength and expertise as their experience increased. The quest for a suitable method has been the focus of my studies for four years. It has brought me to investigate both the conventional and unconventional approaches to foreign language teaching, along with their linguistic, psychological and pedagogical bases. Of these a method which strikes me as having considerable potential as a teaching tool in the hands of native speakers, is Gattegno's Silent Way approach. The experiment described in this thesis is part of the total investigation. It is an attempt to evaluate the effectiveness of the Silent Way as a teaching/learning instrument for second language acquisition. The teaching strategies of the Silent Way are measured against the opposing strategies of an eclectic approach. Two Form I classes of randomly assigned pupils were used for the experiment. The Maori language was taught to Class S.W. using the Silent Way method, and to Class E. using an Eclectic method. A total of 30 hours was used for the experiment, 20 hours for the language component and 10 hours for a culture component. Tests were administered to measure the achievement of subjects in the language areas of listening, speaking, writing and reading. Significant differences between the groups were noted on all measures except on the measure for fluency. The children taught through the Silent Way method made significantly greater gains than the children taught through the Eclectic method.
Type of thesis
Mataira, K. (1980). The effectiveness of the silent way method in the teaching of Maori as a second language (Thesis, Master of Education (MEd)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13699
The University of Waikato
All items in Research Commons are provided for private study and research purposes and are protected by copyright with all rights reserved unless otherwise indicated.