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Our Pedagogical Approach

05 Jul 2024

What is pedagogy?

Pedagogy is the method of how teachers teach both in theory and practice. At Ko Taku Reo, we know that our ākonga (learners) have learning needs that all children have, as well as specific learning and access needs that are particular to Deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) ākonga (see Diagram 1).

Our approach

As Professor Marc Marschark describes in his book ‘How Deaf Children Learn – What Parents and Teachers Need to Know’, Deaf children are not hearing children who cannot hear. The language and cognitive abilities of deaf children are fundamental to their interactions with people and with the world.

With that in mind, our pedagogical approach at Ko Taku Reo is informed by the following:

  • Deaf Education-specific practices
  • internationally researched best practices
  • New Zealand-specific practices
  • Māori-specific practices
  • language learning pedagogies.

Our approach is evidence-based and aims to work for all and have the most significant impact on ākonga learning. Underpinning this approach are two expectations.

  1. Our kaiāko (teachers) keep ākonga and their whānau at the centre of all we do.
  2. We have high expectations of our ākonga and want to ensure every student at the school can attain their highest possible standard in educational achievement.

Our key pedagogies are outlined in Diagram 2. We expect our kaiāko to actively use these key pedagogies every day at the right time with their ākonga to ensure learning, cultural, language, identity and access needs are met.

We recognise the importance of building relationships with local schools to establish quality, deaf-accessible learning environments, so that our ākonga can thrive in multiple worlds with confidence.

Through the intentional application of these pedagogies and strategies, we aim to help our ākonga develop their cognitive, linguistic and social potential, paving the way for them to live fulfilling lives as active, engaged members of their communities.

We also use first and second language learning principles and Deaf Specific Pedagogies outlined in Paddy Ladd’s book ‘The Unrecognized Curriculum’, including:

  • Starting the Cognitive Engine
  • Developing and using the Visual-Gestural-Tactile (VGT) Modalities 
  • Creating Safe Deaf Spaces
  • Language Acceleration 
  • Explaining Deaf Children’s Place in the World
  • Enabling Deaf Children to Live Well in Multiple Worlds.

Overall our pedagogical approach at Ko Taku Reo is strongly aligned with our strategic goals of fostering an inclusive, supportive, and empowering educational environment for our DHH ākonga. When kaiāko place our learners and their whānau at the centre of our educational practices and apply evidence-based and Deaf Education-specific best practices, we provide the best possible support for all ākonga to meet their learning, cultural, language, and access needs.