Mother Tongue, Other Tongue 2014

MTOT logo

A multilingual poetry competition celebrating cultural and linguistic diversity.

To be piloted in Glasgow schools in 2014-15*!

*The pilot competition in Glasgow has now been completed and culminated with a Celebration Event held at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow on 7 March 2015.  Visit our MTOT Celebration Event webpage to find out more!

Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) is an exciting multilingual poetry project coming to Glasgow’s schools in 2014. MTOT is a celebration of cultural diversity and a showcase of the many languages which are spoken and learned by young people in school and at home.

This project began in the North East of England and was adopted by Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, as the Laureate Education Project. MTOT has been very successful in England where it garnered lots of praise in the national press.

SCILT is now bringing the competition to Scotland, initially as a pilot in Glasgow, with plans to go nationwide next year.

The competition is split into two categories:

Mother Tongue encourages children, who do not speak English as a first language, to share a lullaby, poem, rap or song from their mother tongue and to write a short commentary in English about why this piece is important to them. Or, pupils may wish to submit an original piece, written in their mother tongue language, accompanied by a commentary in English detailing the inspiration behind their writing. In Scotland, pupils will be able to submit commentaries on Scots and Gaelic texts in this category.

Other Tongue encourages children learning another language in school (French, Spanish, German, Italian, Mandarin, Urdu, Gaelic, and Cantonese) to use that language creatively by writing an original poem, rap or song in that other tongue. A short accompanying text should also be included outlining their inspiration.

Are you a teacher in a Glasgow primary or secondary school?

The Glasgow pilot was launched on the 28th of May 2014 at the Diverse Teachers for Diverse Learners Conference in the University of Strathclyde, where a number of supporting writers delivered workshops to attending schools.  Visit our launch event webpage to find out more.

Registration to take part in the competition will be open to schools from August 2014. More information on how to register, as well as the closing date for entries, will be available to schools nearer this time.

The competition is open to all schools in Glasgow and will be judged under the following categories:

  • P4 - P6
  • P7 - S1
  • S2 - S3 
  • S4 - S6

The winning poems, as well as a wider selection of commendable entries, will be compiled and published in a Mother Tongue Other Tongue anthology. There will be additional prizes, so start thinking now about how you might get involved.

Mother Tongue Other Tongue is an ideal platform for pupils to be creative and to find their own voice.  It may be used to support the following activities in school:

  • Centre run competitions 
  • Learning and teaching on existing units of work, e.g. Scots poetry or Gaelic song 
  • P7 to S1 Transition projects
  • IDL projects between English, Modern Languages and other departments
  • Cross-stage creative writing groups
  • Creative approaches to Primary Language Learning
  • Overtaking Es and Os in Literacy and English, Literacy and Gaidhlig, Modern Languages and Literacy Across Learning
  • EAL creative writing

These are just a few suggestions, but you may have ideas of your own.  Or for further inspiration, why not visit our poetry resources page, where we have collated a number of downloadable poetry and language materials as well as links to useful websites.  You could also take a look at the MTOT website from Routes into Languages North West and Manchester Metropolitan University to see how the competition ran in England and Wales last year.  Or read the 2014 winning poems in the Routes North West competition anthology.

Follow our MTOT Scotland blog for updates as the competition unfolds.


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