Bilingualism in New Zealand

A key characteristic of Aotearoa, New Zealand is the diverse nature of its population. Not only is the country comprised of Maori, Pasifika, Pakha, Asian and other cultures but it is also said to be one of the highest migrant receiving countries in the world.1 This means that the students populating New Zealand Schools are becoming more and more multicultural. international_flags.gifFor New Zealand educators to fulfill the vision of the New Zealand Curriculum and educate the students to be "successful life-long learners" there needs to be a recognition of the needs of multicultural students and a commitment to understanding how to address the issue of diversity if a positive response is to be made to the changing landscape of the 21st Classroom. An important step towards addressing these needs is to understand the key principles underlying bilingualism. This wiki proposes to set out ten of these principles and look at the implications they have for classroom practice in New Zealand schools.


10 Key Principles

1.The place of students heritage language in Education

2. Cummins' model empowering minority students

3. Making links with students' lives experiences & prior knowledge

4. Scaffolding

5. Vocabulary development -lexical approach/Schema

6. Functions/purposes of Language

7. Bilingualism & the brain ideas - BICS CALP

8. Task & Communicative based approaches/integrated approaches

9. Metacognition

10. Teaching for transfer


1. "The 2001 New Zealand Census revealed that 10% of the population is comprised of ethnic minority people other than Maori and Pacific peoples. This figure is projected by Statistics New Zealand to be 18% by 2021" (Singam, 2006, p1).