Maori bilingual school wins in national sign language competition

Such a heart warming story.  Learners in a Maori school win a national sign langauge competition

“We do lots of trilingual stuff all the time. They speak in English, we speak in Maori and they sign.

http://www.tenews.maori.nz/2012/08/maori-bilingual-school-te-korowai-o-te-aroha-came-runner-up-at-national-sign-language-competition/

The year 0 to year 6 Maori bilingual unit at Te Korowai o te Aroha was definitely the best in its age bracket and was the best in the North Island.

A Christchurch intermediate school won the first AUT StarSign sign language competition during national sign language week at the beginning of August but senior teacher Robin Taua-Gordon and teacher aide Khrystal Morunga say they are pleased for their kids who competed against high school students for the prize.

“We’re successful here, not in spite of where we are, but ‘because of’, you know,” Ms Taua-Gordon says. “We expect excellence in everything we do.”

The AUT competition saw schools signing the national anthem and fitted in well with the unit’s methodology.

“We do lots of trilingual stuff all the time. They speak in English, we speak in Maori and they sign.

“If you ask any child in our whanau how many official languages there are in our country, they’ll all answer three.”

The unit does have a deaf child and she says when students are signing it helps to reinforce what they’re learning in Maori.

All of the teachers helped the students to sign. And she says the students ability to sign is a benefit. The five to 11-year-olds all sign throughout their day’s education.

Te Korowai o te Aroha’s entry was recorded around the school.

Ms Taua-Gordon says that while she was editing the video, overlaying the soundtrack, they realised that they’d signed too slowly for the suggested version of the anthem.

“So I found a Dennis Marsh and it was in English and Maori and we whacked that on as a backing track,” she says. “Lots of our families like him.”

She says all she was really expecting from the video was a little bit of recognition.

And that the competition really spoke to the unit’s emphasis on inclusivity.

The school has been operating as a trilingual unit for nearly two years as they’ve strived to ensure that all their students are able to participate in the class.

“No matter what shape, size, colour, anything, we like to think all the kids know that they’re all special,” Ms Morunga says.

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Eisteddfod: Isaias Grandis is Welsh Learner of the Year

Congratulations to Isaias and all of the runners-up in the Welsh Learner of the Year Award.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-19175390

Isaias Grandis grew up in the Welsh-speaking part of Argentina but said he found it hard to understand the accents when he first came to Wales in 2006.

 

He beat finalists Ashok Ahir, from Cardiff, Mark Morgan from Pontyclun and Rhian Dickenson, from Abergavenny.

 

The finalists were:

  • Ashok Ahir: Aged 42, the the former managing editor of BBC Wales’ political unit. He began learning Welsh in 2005. A co-chair of governors at two Cardiff Welsh-language schools, he interviews staff in Welsh.
  • Rhian Dickenson: She is head of Welsh at Abergavenny’s King Henry VIII School, and teaches Welsh as a second language to A-level standard. Brought up in Gilwern, she started learning Welsh at school.
  • Isaias Grandis: A native Spanish speaker, he became interested in the “foreign” language he heard neighbours speak after his family moved to the Welsh-speaking area of Patagonia. He began learning Welsh at 15.
  • Mark Morgan: The 39-year-old is a a Regimental Sergeant Major in the British Army. He realised he had to learn the language when he and his wife Ceri decided to bring up their two sons in Welsh. He continued studying during a tour in Afghanistan in 2007.

 

 

 

Paula wins again – UK

It was great to read that Paula from Priory Lower School has received more recognition for her wonderful work with German in her classroom and school. When I met her to give her the prize as winner of the Primary Language Awards German category she was teaching in the classroom, and the children were enjoying going to the shop to buy their goods in German.

She and the school were awarded this at the time because the judges said:

Priory school has developed an integrated approach to the teaching and learning of German. Using German in everyday class lessons and encouraging a wider knowledge of the language than normal methods. Activities include mental maths, this offers practical terminology that promotes real knowledge and understanding whilst helping the learners to be conversant at a higher level.

 

The involvement of the community through links with mother tongue speakers at other local schools helps the learners understand sentence structure and pronunciation plus a practical knowledge of intonation and word sounds. The children take part in external activities such as fairs with singing and games and they look forward to continuing with their language learning. It was interesting to read that the school has links with a German Partner school as it helps the learners participate in conversational German in both written and spoken form.

 

The judges felt that the school has embraced language learning through integration and the children have a mix of practical sessions and academic work combined with access to German speakers.  The school offers German to its learners who already have other languages to their repertoire, giving everyone a second common language for reference and conversation.

It is great to know that this has continued and developed further to ensure winning the Goethe-Institut’s Peter Boaks Award. Well Done.

To enter next years awards register your interest via the website www.languageawards.com or look out for it at the end half of next term.

 

To read more about Paula’s recent award http://www.teachingpersonnel.com/news/2012/7/9/teachers-recognised-for-german-contribution/

 

 

Nia Haf Jones Welsh Learners’ Medal – Wales UK

I love the Eisteddfod and really enjoyed as a child trying to enter the competitions and waiting for it to come to a town near me.  This did not happen until I was more of an adult but the love of poetry and singing is very much in my heart. It is therefore great to see a young person winning the Welsh Learners Medal….keeping Welsh alive.

The number of visitors was up from 20,083 on the second day of competing in  2011, and bigger than Monday’s attendance figure despite the poorer weather.

But speaking before presenting Nia Haf Jones with the Welsh Learners’ Medal  on the stage of the main pavilion, guest president and author Angharad Tomos  spoke of her hopes for the future of the language.

Read More http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/need-to-read/2012/06/05/urdd-eisteddfod-guest-president-speaks-of-language-hopes-at-learner-of-year-award-91466-31120672/#ixzz1x5socxdR

more excerpts:

“The Eisteddfod is good for giving children and young people confidence.

“But I’m not sure if they should put quite so much emphasis on competing.

“I know that that is the idea with an eisteddfod, but sometimes it would be  nice to have a festival where the children of Wales could get together to  play and discover things.”

 

 

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/need-to-read/2012/06/05/urdd-eisteddfod-guest-president-speaks-of-language-hopes-at-learner-of-year-award-91466-31120672/