cottage grove primary school

translator: sarah griffin-mason


Grove Primary School in Southsea became involved with Translation Nation in 2013. As a very international primary school with 29 different languages spoken by the pupil community, Translation Nation was the ideal project to celebrate linguistic diversity and increase the self-esteem of bilingual children. The whole school enjoyed the opening Translation Nation assembly, with a story in Spanish and lots of prompts to encourage the children to think about the many uses of translation and the exciting world literature and stories that we can access in this way. The Translation Nation hub group had plenty of languages to share, and on Day 2 stories were offered in languages including Arabic, Polish, Turkish, Portuguese and Farsi. The children worked hard to interpret these into nuanced English and did especially well considering that for the majority of the group English was a second language. They attacked focused tasks relating to structure, vocabulary and assonance and enjoyed writing multiple language glossaries and seeing how the words moved order from one language to another. The project enabled the children to see that people all speak differently, even in English, and there were some playful examples of different registers with children role playing conversations with the Queen and informal exchanges with brothers and sisters. At the end of the three days the group presented five mini performances to a huge audience of pupils, teachers and ten parents. The children loved the acting and Zahra commented “I didn’t know I could tell a whole story in Farsi!”, proud that she had ably told the tale of ‘The Prophet’ by reading the group’s English text and then speaking it in Farsi before the whole school. Cheers were loud for all the stories, but ‘The Cockerel Saviour’, a story originally told in Portuguese, was the ultimate favourite. The staff were amazed that so much was achieved in three days as an assembly is usually practised for at least two weeks. They were also very impressed that the shyer bilingual children were happy to get up and tell their stories in their own languages, and would like to include more bilingual children in storytelling assemblies on a regular basis.