Our learners have been writing beautiful multilingual poetry | Adult Learning Wales

Our learners have been writing beautiful multilingual poetry


The ‘Share your Languages’ workshop took place online via Microsoft Teams in August with tutor Clare Jones, supported by Siriol McAvoy. It was hosted by Steps to Integration Success, Addysg Oedolion Cymru | Adult Learning Wales’ project for refugees and third country nationals in Wales.

The workshop offered learners a chance to meet people in their community, and to learn about their different languages and cultures. They also heard about Welsh culture and language, and were able to hone their English skills through creative reading and writing.
The session was attended by learners living across Wales, and from countries ranging from Russia, Sudan and Syria, to the Ivory Coast, Iraq and Wales. Joseff Oscar Gnagbo, a linguist and refugee who has learnt fluent Welsh, was also in attendance.

The session opened with the learners using a Word Cloud app to create a visual picture of the languages they spoke. The result was impressive! Tutors Clare and Siriol shared their favourite words in English and Welsh, such as pili-pala (butterfly) and cwtch (hug, warm embrace). Learners went on to explain meanings of their favourite words in their own languages, such as السلام عليكم (as-salāmu ʿalaykum), which can mean both ‘peace be upon you’ and ‘hello, good day’.
In the second part of the class, Clare showed an image of her usual swimming spot, in Swansea Bay.

Tutor Clare said, “We talked about the sights and sounds of seaside places learners knew. Some were lucky enough to live near the coast, and others longed to visit legendary places such as Barry Island!”

During the session, there was a reading of Michael Rosen’s seaside poem, ‘Over My Toes’. Learners picked out elements of onomatopoeia – words that include sounds, such as ‘slap’ or ‘wash’. They then created four beautiful multilingual poems about the sea.

Tutor Siriol adds, “While the sea might sometimes separate us, it can also hold lovely memories. For the learners, it can also connect us, in ‘Sea foam, bubbles, travels to Russia, Turkey, Sudan, Syria, Wales’”.

Tutor Clare concludes, “The learners really enjoyed the interesting exchanges and being able to express their creativity as a group. One learner exclaimed: شكراً جزيلاً لقد أحببته, ‘thank you so much I loved it’, while others said how much they enjoyed mixing languages, and the friendly atmosphere.”
The Share your Languages workshop puts into practice new, multilingual approaches to language learning, exploring how languages can also support community inclusion. It will run again online this term, in connection with Adult Learners’ Week (20-26th September 2021).* The session is open to all, English learners and fluent speakers alike – why not come along to support us? More information to follow on our Steps to Integration Success Facebook Group page.

We would like to congratulate all learners who participated and created beautiful poetry.