7. Classroom Instructions

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This week we are continuing with our focus on language for the classroom. In this lesson we will learn to give instructions.


In their book “Māori at Home” Scotty and Stacey Morrison suggest that if you are aiming to build up your knowledge and confidence in speaking te reo, picking a time of day that is full of routine and repetitive language is a great place to start. In the context of home, they suggest setting the goal of speaking te reo in the morning as the household is getting ready for school, as you are repeating familiar phrases regularly. (How many times does one kiddo need to be reminded to pack their lunch?!?) 

I would like to suggest that you could use the same principle for the start of your lessons – a context where you are repeating familiar phrases. Look back through our lessons and think about which ones you will use regularly in your “Start of Lesson” routine? – Greetings /  Asking how you are / Giving instructions.

Use the routine and repetition of this part of each lesson as a way to strengthen your own te reo. Commit to using te reo at these times and you will be amazed at how quickly you feel confident and it becomes second nature to you and your students. 


Look at the list of phrases in Kupu Hou:

  • Which instructions are you familiar with? 
  • Which instructions are going to be helpful in your context? You might want to adapt some, using different kupu for your subject area.  
  • Create a list of 10 instructions that you will commit to always giving in te reo. 
  • Look at the explanations of grammar in the Wetereo section to ensure you understand the construction of each phrase.

For your Kete

Waiata & Karakia:
Wairua tapu tau mai rā
Wairua tapu mai runga
Uhia mai ngā taonga pa
homai tō aroha.

Wāhia, kia tika
Akona mai rā kia ū ki te pai

Kia mau tonu rā
Mōhou te tino kororia.

Spend time learning this waiata which is inviting the holy spirit to be with us. 
You can listen to it here. Use your growing knowledge of te reo and the sign language actions in the youtube clip to understand the meaning of the waiata.
Like some of the other waiata we have learnt, this waiata can also be used as a karakia.

This week we will learn another whakataukī that is foundational in our programme:
Hāpaitia te ara tika pūmau ai te rangatiratanga mō ngā uri whakatipu. 
Foster the pathway of knowledge to strength, independence and growth for future generations.

Kōrero:  As you learn this whakataukī, discuss the sorts of routines and rules you want to establish in your classroom and in each lesson. How do you give instructions? How do these ways of being as a teacher “Foster the pathway of knowledge to strength”? 


Kupu Hou

Titiro (mai)  –  Look (this way)
Huri mai  –  Turn this way
Huri atu  –  Turn away
Kōrero Māori mai  –  Speak to me in Māori
Whakarongo mai  –  Listen here
Rārangi mai  –  Line up here, near me
Rārangi atu  –  Line up over there
Rārangi ki waho/roto  –  Line up outside/inside
Haere ki waho  –  Go outside
Hoki mai ki roto  –  Come back inside
Hoki atu ki tō tūru  –  Go back to your seat
Kuhu mai ki roto  –  Come inside
Haere mai ki konei  –  Come over here
Hoatu ki …   –  Give to …

Kōrero   –  Speak
E tū  –  Stand
E noho  –  Sit down
Turituri!  –  Be quiet!
Hoihoi  –  Be quiet

Kia tau –  Be still, Settle down
Kia tere! –  Be quick!
Kia tūpato –  Be careful
Kia takitoru, takiwhā rānei –  Form groups of three or four

Kimihia –  Look (Search) – literally: Be looking for
Whakahokia tēnei pukapuka –  Return this book
Whakapaingia te rūma –  Tidy the room
Tīkina –  Fetch
Horoia ō ringaringa  –  Wash your hands
Whakamaua tō potae –  Put on your hat
Tangohia ō hū  – Take off your shoes
Katia te kūaha  –  Shut the door
Huakina te kūaha  –  Open the door
Kohia te rāpihi  –  Collect the rubbish

Kaua e pēnā!  –  Don’t do that!
Kaua e kōrero!  –  Don’t talk!
Kaua e wareware  –  Don’t forget


Highlight the phrases that you are familiar with and the ones that fit into your lesson routines. Make a commitment to using them. Spend some time looking at the wetereo below so that you understand how each instruction is structured.


Understanding the grammar structures of each instruction can give you confidence in using them and enables you to adapt them for your own context. We will spend some time together discussing how different phrases are structured and how they can be accurately adapted.

These are straightforward commands using active verbs (Eg. titiro / huri / kōrero). Each active verb can be used on its own, or as in many of the examples above, have extra information about direction or location added.

Some of the verbs have directional particles added:

mai – towards the speaker
atu – away from the speaker

Some have locatives added (Eg. waho/roto/kōnei) using the particle ki (to):

roto – inside
waho – outside
runga – on/above
raro – under/below
muri – in front
mua – behind
kōnei – here

These instructions use the particle Kia. We have already encountered this in our Wetereo in Week 6 as it is also often used to encourage. Remember, what Te Aka tells us – that “Kia” means “Be” and “indicates that it is desirable for something to occur [and is] used this way in giving commands involving adjectives (statives) and experience verbs.”

These commands use ordinary verbs with passive endings to create commands. These passive endings are used where the command has (or could have) an object. There are several different passive endings and each verb uses a particular ending: -a, -na, -nga, -ia, -tia, -hia, -ngia, -kia, -mia, -ria, -whia, -ina, -whina, -kina.

An example:  Horoi is the active verb “wash”. The passive ending for horoi is -a, making the passive form Horoia and in the example above the object of the command is ō ringa – your hands. You can say Horoi! if you want students to wash, but to ensure they wash their hands we would say Horoia ō ringa. 

A second example: Kimi is the active verb for “search”. The passive ending for kimi is -hia, making the passive form Kimihia. In the example above there is no object stated, but in context it would be implied. For example, when your student says, “I can’t find my pen.” You might reply simply “Kimihia” and the object is implied. However, it would also be grammatically correct to say “Kimihia tāu pene” – Search for your pen. 

For further explanation of commands with passive endings and some of the exceptions visit Te Whanake’s page.

This set of commands are in the negative form (Let’s try not to use too many of these!). The word Kaua translates as Don’t. 

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