School poetry competition launched

A bilingual poetry competition backed by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy has been launched by the University of Strathclyde-based SCILT, Scotland's National Centre for Languages.

Mother Tongue Other Tongue

The competition comprises two categories: Mother Tongue, which encourages non-native English speakers to write poetry in their mother tongue language, and Other Tongue, which encourages young people to write poetry in the additional language they're studying in school.

The aims of the competition are to:

  • help schools to recognise the wider language learning that takes place outwith school
  • promote languages by raising awareness of the diverse range of languages and cultures that exist in school communities
  • engage young people in creative language learning experiences

Advanced learning

Victoria Henry, SCILT Professional Development Officer, believes that by building on the experiences and knowledge that young people bring to school via their mother tongue language 'we can better promote and celebrate their individual talents and abilities'.

She added:

On the other hand, young people sometimes question the usefulness of learning another language when they already know English. The perception that English is enough can be a barrier to more advanced learning in languages... This exchange encourages an outward-looking perspective and an awareness of the knowledge and communication skills needed to work and live within a changing world."

Poet Laureate-backing

The competition, which originated in the North East of England as a joint venture between Routes into Languages and Manchester Metropolitan University, was adopted by Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, as the Laureate Education Project. SCILT is now leading the competition in Scotland, initially as a pilot in Glasgow, with plans for it to go nationwide next year.

Mother Tongue Other Tongue is running in Glasgow until 19 December. More information on the competition and entry details can be found here.