Both schools this week have been engaged in Scots language activities around Burns Day. The relevant outcome in CfE says: “I engage with a wide range of texts and am developing an appreciation of the richness and breadth of Scotland’s literary and linguistic heritage”. This sounds rather grand when applied to a P1 learning an adaptation of Humpty Dumpty, but bear in mind large oaks and little acorns.
We may be tempted to question the value of this exercise- few of our children use Scots dialect or are even familiar with it; will it help us to communicate with the wider world; is rote learning of a poem worthwhile?
In visiting classrooms this last week, I saw many things that would validate these activities. A healthy interest in any word, unfamiliar or foreign, and investigation of its root, provenance or meaning surely helps us widen and enrich our vocabulary (and complete the crossword!) Knowledge of and interest in the heritage of the country in which you live may help to explain customs or sayings, as well as engender a pride in our roots. We know that rote learning as an exercise helps train our brain to retain information- though not necessarily the most useful information! Public performance, though daunting for some of us, brings its own rewards, even if it is just the satisfaction of pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone.
On a personal note, I was unexpectedly moved to hear the Humbie children reciting “Tae A Moose”. I don’t know whether it was the familiar words or the effort they had put into learning it- or just my age! Judge for yourselves at assembly on Monday. I look forward to hearing the Saltoun children this week too.
Like many people around snow-bound Humbie I had rather a lot of haggis to share at the weekend and so I had an impromptu Burns Supper for a few friends and neighbours. One guest- a Yorkshireman by birth, confessed it was all a foreign language to him, but stole the show when he produced an app. on his phone which recited the address to the haggis as we served it up. Rabbie would have been dumfoonert!
Have a good week and enjoy the recitations.