Thoughts on Te Whanake

While I was studying te reo Māori at the University, I had a number of issues with the textbooks that we used for the course, the Te Whanake series. I do acknowledge that it was an impressive amount of work to develop not only a new textbook but also the huge number of resources that accompany it. It is amazing and wonderful that the majority of those resources are available online for free. It was no doubt a huge development in the world of te reo Māori course material. But I think that we need to move on, or at least to review and develop these materials.

This doesn’t mean that John Moorfield and the others involved didn’t do a great job. For instance, we still recognised that Isaac Newton was a pretty clever dude, even after Einstein came along and discovered significantly more advanced physical theories. And now physicists have developed theories beyond Einstein but he’s still one of the go to figures we use to represent “genius”. As new resources are developed that supercede Te Whanake, that doesn’t mean the old resources were “bad” in any way. There’s never going to be a be-all and end-all learning resource that can’t be improved upon, a resource that doesn’t need to advance with learning theories, student populations, delivery methods and even just contemporary vocab, not to mention fashion, fads, and personal preferences.

So, if I, at any point, strongly criticise the flaws Te Whanake, it should not be taken to mean that I don’t apppreciate all the work that was put in to it. It also doesn’t mean that the textbooks are worse than other author’s textbooks; it’s just that I haven’t studied with any other books so I haven’t got the experience to criticise them!



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