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.

Olympics – Bilingual Countries Information

Just a quick post to say if you are thinking of doing something really radical and bilingual what about sign language? The Primary sign team that I wrote about recently have some free olympic countries information with really easy signs to learn.  Who is up for the challenge?

Find it here at : http://www.primarysign.com/tour.php

Key Principles and Key Stage Review – The New Curriculum UK

This is a summary of one piece of the framework for the National Curriculum published this week.  I have tried to make it more understandable and less wordy and plan to create bit sized articles and pull out relevant aspects over the next few blog entries.

Here are the key principles.

  • The New Curriculum will be developed in line with freedom, responsibility and fairness
  • Schools to be given greater autonomy with the government prescribing the essential knowledge to be provided by schools but allowing schools to serve its pupils better by tailoring it to fit its pupils needs and also  teaching in the most effective way
  • The curriculum should use the best collective knowledge we have re. the best way to teach to ensure the best learning. I am sure that this is what is already happening in most parts of the country.
  • Schools must take note of vulnerable groups and ensure they move confidently and successfully through their education. –  I suspect that this is where EAL will fit as well as SEND (Special Needs and Disabilities).
  • Schools need to distinguish between The National Curriculum and The Wider School Curriculum  (the whole curriculum as experienced by pupils in that school) – Schools will need document this to ensure they are fulfilling the key principles for governors, parents and OFSTED.
  • The National Curriculum will continue to be a statutory requirement for maintained school but also be used as the benchmark for excellence across all schools.

One other thing to note is their interest in the Key Stages and they suggest that :

I think this will be debated in all schools at senior level at the very least, despite some schools already having moved the start of GCSE’s into Year 9 for it to happen on a permanent basis there will be staff implications, possible timetable restrictions,  and questions re the suitability for the students involved…i.e. is it really best practice for them to achieve their potential? In primary I can foresee two years of focussed Assessment coaching depending on the implications of the Assessment criteria and expected outcomes again is that really the best practice we can give to our children?  We must all make sure that at the end of every policy, every change to the curriculum and every piece of assessed work there is a child and sometimes as young as 7. So our question should be Is this the best for our children..if it isn’t we must find a way to give the children the best but also achieve assessment success and each individual reaching their personal potential.

A tall order maybe but one that with collaboration we can achieve.


NQT – Help I have an interview …What shall I do?

This time of year reminds me of my degree show, just as I was preparing for it I was called to the professors office as there was a phone call for me. I was being invited to a job interview which was two days away and this just coincided with the middle day of my degree show and examinations. My mind went mad what should I do first, how can I get both things done? Luckily on that particular day I only had one verbal test which the professor changed to the day before, so off I went…luckily I was chosen and my teaching career was started.

If you are in the same place here is some advice particularly for language interviews.

  • If you have any questions ring up or email  to clarify  the position
  • Where possible find out about prior learning
  • Are you co-ordinating languages as part of the position?
  • Know the up to date curriculum and where appropriate suggest exemplar lessons to support any changes.
  • Find out the year group you will be teaching and relate the curriculum to this group including, aims and objectives.
  • Think about objections e.g. some parents and teachers think teaching a child another language rather than English is the wrong thing to do so will do all they can to object…how can you over come this?
  • What is the heads view?
  • Know the benefits of MFL or EAL especially that: good practice for MFL/EAL  is good practice for everything else.  (Many benefits of bilingual learning are now to be found on this blog and the internet)
  • Most importantly enjoy what you are doing.  If you enjoy it, your enthusiasm comes across and the children enjoy their learning.
  • This is probably one people will say you shouldnt say that, it is obvious, but having been in the position of interviewer, here goes.  Wear appropriate clothing for the demonstration lesson you want to deliver thereby show your professional clothing choice. Some people plan e.g. a walk around the grounds in trousers that drag in the ground, shoes that are unsuitable for walking and then are uncomfortable throughout the rest of the interview.  Both themselves and the interviewer do not feel they have got the best out of each other.

If part of the interview is the demonstration lesson, try to find out the normal expectations e.g. are the aims clearly shown, is the three-part lesson expected, the number in the class, the age group. What they would normally doing is a good place to start …if you have no ideas…because you could support current learning. Find out what they expect via lesson planning and if possible use their normal proforma – showing that you could fit right in helps. Know where what you are doing fits in the curriculum and what could come before or after it.

In some situations you may be starting off MFL or EAL in the school for the first time…unlikely but it has been known… in this case be aware that governors may want to ask questions re the curriculum and what you hope the MFL/EAL curriculum to look like in thats chool in say three-five years once you have embedded your ideas.  As I said more likely for a full co-ordinators role or Head of Department role, but it aware it can happen. For example just because there was a member of staff in the school when the job was advertised who was to be the co-ordinator, it doesn’t mean they will be there when you take up position for all sorts of reasons.

Finally make sure you enter the primary language awards and show off all of your good work. www.languageawards.com or facebook primarylanguageawards.



DfE Primary Curriculum Review further details – UK

On Facebook the DfE have given some examples and are asking questions. Here is the link:


Draft Primary National Curriculum link – UK

Further to the last blog here are the direct links to the Draft National Curriculums.