Professor Stephen May - Bilingualism or not? Exploring the relationship between bilingualism and academic achievement Event as iCalendar

20 September 2017

6 - 7pm

Venue: Whangarei Central Library

Location: 5 Rust Avenue, Whangarei

Cost: Free

Professor Stephen May
Professor Stephen May

One of the biggest decisions any parent or whānau can make is what school they should send their children to. When their child is bilingual, or their whānau wishes them to become so, there are even more issues to consider. Is bilingualism an advantage? Is immersion/bilingual education effective? Will my child more likely succeed in so-called mainstream (English-medium) education or in Māori-medium education? If I do put my children into Māori-medium education, or any other form of bilingual education, what are the implications for acquiring English literacy and wider academic success?

In this presentation I address all these issues, drawing on my work nationally and internationally in bilingual/immersion education over the last 30 years. I will highlight what the research evidence consistently tells us and address widespread misunderstandings about bilingualism, learning and achievement that are still held, not only by parents, but also teachers and policy makers, in Aotearoa New Zealand today.


Stephen May is Professor of Education in Te Puna Wānanga (School of Māori and Indigenous Education) at the University of Auckland. He is an international authority on bilingualism and bilingual education, bi/multilingualism and language learning, language policy, and language rights. He has written widely on Māori-medium education and bilingual/immersion education internationally. He has published over 100 articles and book chapters, along with numerous books, in these areas and was also the lead author on the Ministry of Education’s report on “Bilingual/immersion education: Indicators of best practice”.

View Professor Stephen May's profile

The University of Auckland in Whangarei, in association with Whangarei District Council, invite you to a series of free public lectures and networking opportunities.

Venue: Whangarei Central Library, 5 Rust Avenue, Whangarei

Upcoming events

8 November 2017 | 6 – 7pm
Associate Professor Melinda Webber (University of Auckland) - Achieving Equity and Excellence in Education: Māori and Pāsifika


Past speakers

View the webcast catalogue.

  • Associate Professor Jacqueline Beggs (University of Auckland) - Conservation and indigenous peoples (5 April 2017)

Video: Jacqueline Beggs is interviewed on NewsHub about the successes and challenges of the 30-year-old Department of Conservation

  • Professor Christine Rubie-Davies (University of Auckland) - High expectation teaching and the creation of equitable outcomes for all students: Implications for Northland schools 
  • Professor Ian Anderson - Discussions with local iwi, health practitioners and leaders of the community
  • Professor Alan France (University of Auckland) - What to do about our young people?
  • Professor Stephen May (University of Auckland) - Bilingualism or not? Exploring the relationship between bilingualism and academic achievement
  • Professor Simon Holdaway (University of Auckland) - The Origins of Egyptian Civilisation


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