As a teacher do you fill a bucket or aim to light a fire?

WB Yeats, “education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire

How many teachers and Education Ministers  do you know that just want to fill up buckets? Where is the creativity and the personalisation that makes the spark or turns the light bulb on to education?

I believe I have blogged before about how a teacher making me look at some paper burning made me fascinated and turned me onto poetry and words. Not the type of thing that can be done in todays classrooms but her ingenuity allowed us as a class to smell, taste, look, listen and then choose words we knew to describe what we saw. That did more for me in primary days than sitting the eleven plus and how many others would say exactly the same thing?

Poetry for teachers of EAL children

I missed blogging on poetry day as I was not sure which poem to blog so as usual time has gone by and here we are nearly a month from it but I was reminded today thanks to my blog about Tamil poems being translated into English and a comment from Usha Rajagopalan. In her comment to me she suggested looking at a link where four poems had been published I duly followed and enjoyed the poems so much I thought I would just put my favourite below.Great because I am ahead now for poetry week !

A great poetry resource for English teachers teaching Tamil children and others in their class as the use of nature in such an appealing way should capture their imaginations. So may things to look at the rhythm, the words, the length of each line, the genre, cultural references,the pictures it creates in ones mind etc.

Kuyil Paattu 2

In the trilling and warbling of birds in the forest,
In the music of the wind as it rustles through the leaves,
In the laughter of the rippling river and cascading falls,
In the ever-swelling waves of the blue ocean,
In the passionate lyrics of girls deeply in love,
In songs that drip with honey, in notes that melt the heart.
In the singsong of farmers as they draw water,
In the ancient chants of women as they grind corn,
In the country notes of those who powder limestone,
In the catchy little ditties of women working in farms,
In the tinkling of bangles on maidens’ arms,
In a circle as they dance clapping their hands,
In the notes of the flute and the veenai and
In instruments that men strum or blow air through.
In the melody that is heard all day long,
In the teeming city and in nature’s wilderness,
In all these notes I have lost myself.

This was pipped to the top but I loved the sentiments of Show mercy to the Enemy.

Show Mercy to the Enemy

Show mercy to the enemy, kindly heart. Show mercy to the enemy!
In the thick of smoke, there is fire. We have seen this on earth, kindly heart,

We have seen this on earth. In the midst of enmity, God dwells as love. God dwells as love, kindly heart, God dwells as love.

A lucent pearl can be found nestled within An oyster shell, don’t you know, kindly heart? Growing in the midst of refuse, can’t the Madhavi creeper Bloom in profusion, kindly heart?

When falsehood creeps into the mind, Can the mind be at peace, kindly heart? If a little poison is added to pure honey, Can it still be called honey, kindly heart?

Planning to live and grow, to think of decay, Is it fair to life, kindly heart? To subdue another is to take one’s own life. Haven’t you heard this, kindly heart?
He came like one of the Kauravas, To take part in the war, kindly heart. Didn’t Kannan also stand, whip in hand At the helm of Arjun’s chariot, kindly heart?

Even the tiger that threatens to devour us, You can win over with love, kindly heart. When Ma Parashakti appears as a tiger, Bow to her, kindly heart, bow to her.

Bilingual poetry – Tamil/English

Writing poetry is difficult but bilingualising it is another all together. With this in mind it is no wonder that the writer almost started negatively as the poetry of the original is so well-known. The news item starts of by saying that:

Reading a bi-lingual edition of a work-in-translation is akin to living on the border between two friendly nations. You can hop from source text to translated text, making up your mind along the way about several things at once.

Translated by Usha Rajagopalan, this special bilingual edition of the Tamil poet Subramania Bharati’s poems carries that lovely promise.

It is such a shame that the emphasis was not more on that now everyone can have some experience of the original poets words, or that people who have spoken Tamil previously but now speak more English, can get access to the text now rather than the emphasis on the poetry not having the same feel when literally translated. it is such a  shame because from what I read I got some song and drama…so maybe it’s in the mind of the reader and whether you come to it with a positive or negative place.

The writer does relent a little later and says that:

In a small subset of her translations, however, Usha really lets go and thereby almost gets Bharati’s voice. “To the Sun” is one such example:

O Sun! What have you done to darkness?

Driven it away? Killed it? Swallowed it?

Have you smothered it with your embrace,

Hidden it with your light ray hands?

Other translations which do reasonably well are “To the Wind” and “Clarity of mind”. “Kannamma, My Beloved” very nearly works, marred only by the “alas! alas!” of the closing lines.

I for one are happy that these poems have been opened up for me, as I love poetry and I am sure many others will as well.  Lets face it how often do story tellers complain that things have been taken out of context by their peers or it’s not true to the original when all involved speak the same language so I say Bravo and well Done.

http://www.thehindu.com/arts/books/no-song-here/article3968309.ece

There is also another more positive story which can be found below.

http://www.thehindu.com/arts/books/dwelling-on-silence/article3968311.ece

When I am lonely – Dual text poetry- Japan

For anyone looking for dual language poetry here is a great example.

Entry No. 1

When I am lonely,
Strangers do not know.

When I am lonely,
My friends are laughing.

When I am lonely,
My mother is kind.

When I am lonely,
Buddha is lonely.

わたしがさびしいとき、
よその人は知らないの。
 
わたしがさびしいとき、
お友だちはわらうの。
 
わたしがさびしいとき、
み母さんはやさしいの。
 
わたしがさびしいとき、
ほとけさまはさびしいの。

NOTES:

Kaneko Misuzu (1903-1930) was a poet. When her ex-husband attempted to gain custody of their daughter, she committed suicide. She was 26.

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National Curriculum Review – UK

Have you seen the Letter from Micael Gove  re the Curriculum review? He is saying that emphasis will be on English, Maths and Science with Maths expectations of pupils to be higher and knowing number bonds to 20 by year 2 and times tables to 12 by year 4. Added to this will be  more challenging content.

After that to broaden the curriculum  the following subjects will be compulsory: Art and Design, Design and Technology, Geography, History, ICT, Music and PE across all primary years. At KS2 all pupils to learn a foreign language.

Brilliant news about languages and Design Technology two subjects that really set our children up for the world of work. What do you think of this news?

See more at http://media.education.gov.uk/assets/files/pdf/l/secretary%20of%20state%20letter%20to%20tim%20oates%20regarding%20the%20national%20curriculum%20review%2011%20june%202012.pdf

Kingsteignton’s Letter to the Queen

Do you have a special chair to relax in?

Well here is the first book we have created to support the Queens Diamond Jubilee. The children and teachers used literacy  and art lessons to create their poems, question and their pictures of the Queen, guards, castles, new stamp and alternate front covers.  They all did really well. The Lady in Waiting responded

The Queen wishes me to write and thank you all for the splendid pictures, letters and poems you have contributed.

You can find them at our site www.languagesupportuk.com under the LSBooks section.

Arabella Age 8 wrote

Dear Your Majesty,

My name is Arabella and I live in Kingsteignton. I have a very important question for you. Does it hurt when you put your crown on your head? Thank you so much for reading my letter.  I hope you have a super Jubilee.

Leon aged 10 wrote:

Your Majesty,

My name is Leon and I am 10 years old and my favourite thing is the marvel comics and my favourite character is Spiderman. Mam, I have a question I would like to ask you.

If you were God what would you do to help the earth and why? Hope you have a great life on the throne.

Yours faithfully Leon.

Daisy aged 11 wrote an acrostic poem

Joyful celebrations that everyone is looking forward to,

United we stand

Blue, read and white flags flying high in the sky above our heads

Incredibly long time that she has reigned over our nation

Long Live the Queen!

Excitementis flowing through everyone’s veins

Elizabeth 2nd our Queen for 60 years.

Seth aged 9 chose to write a limerick

A Queen with a dazzling crown,

Who lives in such beautiful grounds,

You have seven corgi’s,

That go for a walkie,

And walk to the end of the town.