Language in the classroom

A German aeroplane brought down by our airmen whilst reconnoitring over the Allies’ lines. —...
A German aeroplane brought down by our airmen whilst reconnoitring over the Allies’ lines. — Otago Witness, 16.8.1916.
The education of the rising generation of the Native race represents an important part of the duty which the pakeha owes towards the Maori.

This, it may be believed, is being discharged as thoroughly as circumstances permit.

The number of Native village schools in New Zealand is now 117—in 1881 it was 60—with 5191 pupils on the roll at the end of last year.

A few European children attend these schools, but the proportion is quite small.

The number of children classed as Maori and attending the ordinary public schools of the country closely approximates the number attending the strictly Native schools.

Altogether the education system has to provide for the requirements of close on ten thousand young people wholly or partly Maori.

A glance at the annual report of the Inspector of Native Schools seems to reveal quite a satisfactory state of things, though, as would be expected, certain directions are indicated in which the education of the Maori child offers peculiar difficulties.

In respect of the teaching of English — the most important subject of all, since it must be the basis of progress in other subjects — the Inspector observes: "Although many schools have made distinct progress during the year, the results and methods of treatments are still in a large number of schools somewhat disappointing. When it is understood that 98 per cent. of the Maori children in the Native village schools speak Maori as their mother tongue, the difficulty of the problem of teaching what is to them really a foreign language will be readily recognised. English has been made the language of instruction because linguistic unity is the most important step towards national unity, and expert opinion and practical experience prove that the keynote to the correct teaching of English to beginners is the practically exclusive use of that language in the schoolroom."

• "A terrible case," commented a member at Monday night’s meeting of the Napier Patriotic Committee, when (says the Hawke’s Bay Herald) a letter was read from the wife of a soldier who had gone to the front.

The writer stated she had seven children, their ages ranging from two years to nine years.

She was receiving 7s 6d a day and was very disappointed to find that she could not make it go nearly as far as she had thought it would go.

She added: "I find that, when I have paid for the food and the rent, there is very little left for clothes and other things, and as for all the extra expense that is coming, I simply dare not think of it."

It was decided to take immediate steps to remedy the case by writing to the Defence Department, with the request that the husband of the distressed woman be compelled to contribute a reasonable proportion of his pay to his wife’s support. Immediate relief was also given by the committee.

On June 6 a healthy female infant, evidently only a few days old, was found outside the Wellington Receiving Home.

On Thursday morning, Mr D. G. A. Cooper, S. M., was confronted with the task of conferring upon the little stranger a name, birthday, and religion, and finding for it a place of abode (says the Post).

His Worship was not prepared to invent a name, but the child, which was committed to the Receiving Home, will, for the time being at any rate, be known under the plain, unpretentious title of "Jessie Home". — ODT, 12.8.1916.



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