Dr Karena Kelly
A lecturer at Te Kawa a Māui, Karena teaches in the Reo Māori programme in courses ranging from 100- to 300-level.
Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine
What are you currently teaching?
All things Māori language really—in 2013 I taught at the 100- and 200-levels, where my primary focus was developing a solid understanding of the syntax (or grammatical bones) of te reo Māori. In 2014 I was teaching at the 300-level—looking in more depth at some advanced features of te reo, and some aspects of the formal language roles of whaikōrero and karanga.
He aha tāu e whakaako nei?
Ko te reo Māori me ōna āhuatanga katoa hei kaupapa ako māku—i te tau 2013 i te taumata tuatahi, tuarua hoki au e whakaako ana. Ko taku aronga matua i reira ko te tūāpapa o tō te ākonga whare kōrero, kia pakari, kia toka. Hei te taumata tuatoru au ā te 2014—ko te wāhi ki a au he ruku ki te rētōtanga o te reo rangatira, he toro atu hoki ki te reo o te marae ātea, arā ki te whai kōrero, ki te karanga anō hoki.
Tell us about your approach to teaching. What do you enjoy most about teaching at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington?
I believe that language is inherently about communication between people, so in learning a language it is really important to learn to collaborate with others. As a reo learner, it is also crucial to set good learning goals, and unpack exactly what being ’good at te reo’ actually entails. Once that is broken down into finer detail it can be easier to identify your strengths and work on your weaknesses.
We have a really diverse group of reo Māori students here at the University; some are Māori learning their heritage language as a second language at university; some have spoken Māori their whole lives and are reaching for new heights and learning to look at their language use in an entirely new way; others aren’t Māori but are learning the language because te reo is important to them. Teaching this diverse group together, and what’s more, teaching them to work together and capitalise on their shared strengths is both a challenge and a privilege.
Whakamāramahia mai ō whakaaro ki te mahi whakaako. He aha ngā tino painga o te whakaako ki Wikitōria?
Ki ahau nei he taura te reo e hono ai te tangata ki tangata kē atu, ehara tana toa i te toa takitahi. Me mātua ako te ākonga reo ki te mahi tahi ka tika. Kia mārama kehokeho hoki ana whāinga ako, i tua noa atu i tana hiahia ‘ki te whakapakari i taku reo Māori’. Me āta wetewete me pēwhea rā te tangata e kīia ai he matatau ia ki te reo? Kia mārama taipitopitohia tēnā, ka māmā noa atu te kite i ana pūkenga, me ngā whāwhārua hoki i tana kete kōrero.
Kua rangatira a Wikitōria i ngā ākonga reo Māori, me ō rātou momo katoa; he Māori ētahi kātahi anō ka tīmata ki te whai i tō rātou reo taketake; ko ētahi i tipu ake i te reo, engari e nanaiore atu ana ki taumata kē, e waia haere ana ki tētahi tirohanga hou ki te whānuitanga me te tataotanga o tō tātou reo; ko ētahi he tauiwi, engari kua titi kaha te reo Māori ki ō rātou ngākau. Kātahi te whakapātari nui mā te kaiako ko te whakaako ngātahi i ēnei momo katoa, ka mutu, ko te whakaako i a rātou kia mahi ngātahi, e mana ai te kōrero ‘nāku te rourou, nāu te rourou, e ora ai te iwi’.
What is your best piece of advice to current or prospective students?
- Find out about the student support services that are available, and use them!
- Ask your question in class—there are undoubtedly heaps of others wondering about the very same thing.
- Attend every lecture, not because you have to, but because it makes things so much easier for you in the end.
- Take a minute to proof-read your assignments before you submit them—so many marks are wasted for silly little mistakes you’d pick up with one editing read-through.
He aha ō tino tohutohu hei āwhina i te ākonga?
- E hia nei ngā momo ratonga hei āwhina i te ākonga—kimihia, whakamahia!
- Karawhiua tō pātai, hei oranga mō koutou ko ō hoa karaihe e whakaaro pēnā ana.
- Me tae ā tinana atu ki ngā karaihe katoa, e māmā noa atu ai tō huarahi ako.
- Me mātua whakatika ō aromatawai ka tukuna atu ai ki te kaiwhakawā—kei moumou te hia māka i ngā hē māmā ka kitea noatia e koe i te pānuitanga kotahi.