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ESOL Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Diverse learners

This page has examples and resources for you to use when planning teaching and learning for:

  • speakers of te reo Māori
  • students with refugee backgrounds, who are English language learners.
Pomaria students

Questions | Examples | ESOL Resources | General resources

Teaching in a way that is responsive to the diversity in our classrooms has the most profound effect on our English language learners. Strong school–whānau relationships, culturally responsive classrooms, and the deliberate use of effective teaching strategies can help Māori learners succeed as Māori. 

The voices of Māori students

"Create learning contexts where Māori students can contribute to your class, contexts that are responsive to the culture of the student. Vindicate the voices of Māori students. Open it up for students to bring their cultures into the classroom; their histories, stories and deeds of ancestors, their marae, their land”.  

Maria Tibble, EDtalks

English language learners (ELLs) include:

  • students from homes where a language other than English is spoken
  • students transitioning from Māori-medium to English-medium learning environments
  • students from bilingual education settings.

There are a range of resources and readings to help us begin to understand and use appropriate pedagogies that will enhance learning for Māori, and all learners.

Questions to think about in your school context

  • How does your school support students to continue to succeed in their learning and to continue to grow in their use of both Māori and English?
  • How are students voices included in the day-to-day activities, practices and events that happen in your school?
  • How are the cultural identities of your students identified and nourished, alongside their language teaching?

In what ways do you encourage the speaking of te reo Māori across the school?


From literacy in Māori to biliteracy in Māori and English: A community and school transition programme
Teachers and community in a rural Māori-medium school were concerned that their students who were highly literate in Māori experienced difficulties in reading and writing in English on entry to secondary school. A 10-week culturally appropriate home and school English reading and writing programme was introduced for their years 6–8.

Bilingual digital stories
Primary school teacher Bridget Harrison, Kimi Ora Community School, talks about using digital stories to support students with English as a second language.

Snapshot 10: Theme-based programme design
This Senior Secondary English curriculum guide snapshot describes how a school designed an effective, whole-year programme based around a theme that was of particular interest to its students and aligned with their needs.

ESOL resources

English Online logo.

Know the learner – useful resources
Part of a series on teacher inquiry, this page from English Online offers readings, stories and resources about the importance of knowing who you are teaching.

Māori Dictionary
A dictionary for learners of Māori, written on new principles. It is a selection of modern and everyday language essential for learners, as well as the words one would expect in a traditional dictionary.

Encyclopaedic entries provide key information about plants, animals, stars, planets, other heavenly bodies, important Māori people, key ancestors in traditional narratives, tribal groups, ancestral canoes, song types, Māori names for institutions, country names, place names, and other proper names. There are also explanations of key concepts central to Māori culture.

Transitioning from Māori-medium to English medium education: The experiences and perspectives of three students
Hamish Weir, Victoria University, explores the language experiences of three students who have left kura kaupapa to attend an English medium secondary school.

English Language Learning Progressions (ELLP)
ELLP explain what ESOL specialists and mainstream teachers need to know about English language learners. They will help teachers to choose content, vocabulary, and tasks that are appropriate to each learner's age, stage, and language-learning needs. This may include learners for whom English is a first language but who would benefit from additional language support.

General resources

Ka Hikitia – Ka Hāpaitia
A Ministry of Education strategy designed to rapidly change how the education system performs so that all Māori students gain the skills, qualifications and knowledge they need to enjoy and achieve education success as Māori.

Te Kōtahitanga: Raising Māori student achievement
An initiative developed to improve teaching strategies and the effectiveness of teachers to increase the engagement and academic achievement of Māori students within mainstream secondary schools. As part of this project, an Effective Teaching Profile has been developed, giving teachers an inquiry framework from which to develop a Culturally Responsive Pedagogy.

Te Mana Kōrero
The Te Mana Kōrero series has been developed by the Ministry of Education to help teachers focus on quality teaching practices that can better engage Māori students in learning and improving academic and social outcomes. The film clips from Te Mana Kōrero, along with key questions and reflections are available from the  Te Mana Kōrero kete.

Te Mangōroa
Te Mangōroa is a resource for English-medium schools. It is a portal to stories, reports, statistics, and reviews from across TKI and other sites that reflect effective practices to support Māori learners to achieve education success as Māori.

Te Tere Auraki
Te Tere Auraki is a Ministry of Education professional development strategy focusing on improving outcomes for Māori students in English-medium schools. This strategy supports four main Te Tere Auraki projects: Te Kotahitanga, Te Kauhua, Ako Panuku, and Te Mana Kōrero.

Effecting change for Māori students(Word 48KB)
A summary that starts to align NZ Curriculum with Ka Hikitia and Te Kotahitanga.

Evaluation of the Te Kauhua Māori Mainstream Pilot Project(2004) 
Te Kauhua was an exploratory professional development pilot. It provided schools with the opportunity, in partnership with their Māori community, to explore professional development approaches that enabled teachers to improve outcomes for Māori students and work more effectively with Māori whānau achievement in mainstream settings.

To extend your thinking

Professional responsibility to Māori students
Maria Tibble discusses the professional responsibility that teachers have to ensure that their practice is effective and current, and points out that this responsibility extends to Māori students and the classroom practices that allow them to achieve. 

Updated on: 01 Sep 2021