Manchester Academy’s Head of Modern Foreign Languages, Saima Baksh, is helping to promote a multilingual poetry competition, with an appearance in a special promotional film.
Called ‘Mother Tongue, Other Tongue,’ the project, which has been running since 2012, was originally devised by Manchester Metropolitan University and Routes into Languages North West and is officially endorsed by Malala Yousafzai, youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner and education activist.
The competition is aimed at primary and secondary schools and is a national Laureate Education Project, led by the Poet Laureate Dame Carol Ann Duffy and coordinated by Routes into Languages, with regional competitions and events taking place throughout the year.
The ‘Mother Tongue’ part of the project challenges pupils who do not have English as a first language to write a creative poem or song in their native language, while ‘Other Tongue’ asks pupils to create an original poem in a second language they are learning at school (French, German, Spanish, Italian, Arabic, Urdu and Mandarin).
A regular participant in the competition, Manchester Academy won the North West final in 2016, with student Khadijah Mahmood taking top spot in the Key Stage 3 ‘Mother Tongue’ category, with a piece about an attack on a school in Pakistan.
Thanks to the Academy’s ongoing contribution, Ms Baksh was selected to appear in a promotional film talking about the Moss Side school’s reasons for taking part in the competition, which she believes is important for her language students’ development.
Ms Baksh explained:
“Writing a poem in their mother tongue helps our students to reconnect with their roots and explore their language further. They also get to integrate more within their circle of friends and the community, by helping them understand their background, culture and roots. It also helps students feel proud of their heritage and language.
“For the ‘Other Tongue’ option, students write a poem in a language they are learning such as Spanish or French and have the opportunity to show off their language learning, as well as gaining confidence as they develop their language skills further.”
The film, featuring Ms Baksh, will be shown on 9th April at an event organised by Manchester Metropolitan University, celebrating 10 years of the Poet Laureate, Dame Carol Ann Duffy, and the projects she has developed over the past decade.