translator: bhavit mehta
George Mitchell All Through School joined Translation Nation in 2012 with 29 pupils in Year 5 taking part with linguist and author Bhavit Mehta.
Family members visited the school to introduce the children to adventures from an array of cultures and in languages including Turkish, Urdu, Twe, French and Afrikaans. Pupils enjoyed hearing new words and ideas and were excited to find common threads in the tales and themes that they understood and related to. Their confidence continued to grow as they tackled games, exercises, partner and group work, and a change was particularly visible in children for whom English is a second language. They developed a fun group environment to explore language together and refine their oral and written skills.
The children were supported to translate their chosen stories and develop them into scripts to be performed on Day 3 of the project. The group used their own words to capture the spirit of the tales, and some pupils were surprised how much fun they had along the way. Parents and audience members at the final showcase remarked on the quality of the work achieved in only three days and the participants buzzed with energy and pride. There was a sense that on different levels pupils, teachers and parents had all learnt something through the experience of taking part. The Dog, the Wolf and the Fox, a story translated from French, took the Translation Nation title.
Teachers at George Mitchell were impressed by the children’s response to Translation Nation and the openness and positivity that it created. They were also able to use the information revealed about the pupils’ home languages as a reference point to inform further teaching. A teacher concluded that Translation Nation will be remembered as a catalyst for children and their parents at George Mitchell proudly displaying facets of their culture.