Author: Angela de Britos
Date of Publication: September 2016
Series Title: Scottish Languages Review Issue 31
Notes: DOI: 10.6084/m9.figshare.3806589
Language and culture are arguably central to identity and it is also the right of every child to maintain these elements of ‘self’. Nevertheless, the Home Office mantra of quickly learning English and ‘new arrivals’ homogenising with British culture and values is at odds with current Scottish educational policy aiming to foster children’s home language. This paper outlines the impact of the recent Mother Tongue Other Tongue multilingual poetry project which allowed pupils to use their home language, or a language they are learning in school creatively, and also reflect upon culture within a mainstream school environment. The themes of multilingualism and multiculturalism explored within the project will contribute to my PhD thesis which explores the extent to which Scottish educational policy is meeting the needs of multilingual children. Regarding the benefits and importance of plurilingualism, I argue that there is a lack of awareness and knowledge on the part of teachers and parents. Furthermore, children’s well-being would be enhanced if their linguistic and cultural heritage were nurtured. The impact of the project on the children and young people involved has been profound - it has given them a voice!