Resources Galore!

The annual Scottish Learning Festival takes place next week (21st and 22nd September) at the SECC in Glasgow, and for any teachers  fortunate enough to be able to attend I would recommend a visit to the Into Film stand G25 in the Exhibition Hall, where they will be showcasing their new ‘Scotland on Film‘ teaching resource. With links to Curriculum for Excellence, the resource is  designed to help educators and young people  explore Scotland through film, focusing specifically on the two central themes of Language and Identity.

whisky-galoreScotland on Film’ is an engaging, curriculum-linked teaching resource for educators working with 7-18 year-olds, comprising downloadable teachers’ notes and a PowerPoint presentation with embedded film clips. As well as supporting teachers in engaging with film as a core learning tool, the resource is designed to celebrate Scotland and the rich contribution it has made to film. The activities focus specifically on two central themes: Language and Identity. From classic cinema through to modern day representations of Scotland on film, the resource touches on history, myth, and culture.  It also uses film with accompanying Scots language texts, encouraging students to explore the language in historical and modern contexts. The sections on identity cover many aspects of what it can mean to be Scottish, from personal identity to rural and city living.

Film is an important text within the English curriculum and we seek to utilise it at every opportunity. It also serves to provide a supporting context for other avenues of study; such as novels, functional writing and stimulus for creative writing.”  Michael Daly, John Paul Academy, Glasgow

Created in partnership with Education Scotland, The Scottish Book Trust, LGBT Youth (Scotland) and Arpeggio Pictures, ‘Scotland on Film’ encourages and supports teachers to use film as a core way of teaching the curriculum. Films featured include Fantastic Mr Fox (PG), Water Horse: Legend of the Deep (PG), Sunset Song (15) and short film Take Your Partners, while activities range from discussing what films made in Scotland tell us about Scotland, through exploring ‘book-to-film’ adaptations, to poetry writing and simple filmmaking.

“It has been fantastic working together with Into Film on this new resource. An essential element of my work for Education Scotland promoting Scots Language is the development of new materials that not only show the vast vocabulary and interesting linguistic history of the language, but also to create modern and vibrant ways for Scots to be explored within the learning settings of today.”   Bruce Eunson, Education Scotland

As part of its UK-wide programme to place film at the heart of young people’s learning, Into Film, an organisation supported by the BFI through lottery funding, will also be showcasing the benefits of its school film clubs, which provide  free access to thousands of films and related resources.  Visitors to the stand will have the opportunity to set up a club on the spot with help from Into Film staff, pose queries about existing clubs, sign up for the charity’s free ‘Teaching Literacy Through Film’ online course (created in partnership with the BFI), and get a sneak preview of its newest curriculum-linked resources.

Those who are unable to attend the Festival in person can listen to the keynote presentations live online at the following times. Check the SLF website for more details.

Wednesday 21 September, 10.30 – 12 noon, Opening keynote address, John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills.

Wednesday 21 September, 12.30 – 13.30, Fixing the past or inventing the future, Dr Yong Zhao, Presidential Chair and Director of the Institute for Global and Online Education in the College of Education, University of Oregon.

Wednesday 21 September, 14.00 – 15.00, Leading with evidence for educational improvement, Dr Carol Campbell, Associate Professor, Ontario Institute of Education, University of Toronto.

Thursday 22 September, 14.30 – 15.30, Taking on the impossible, Mark Beaumont, TV presenter and broadcaster, record-breaking round the world cyclist and ultra-endurance adventurer.

The keynotes will also be available to watch online retrospectively.

To the Immortal Memory of Robert Burns

Happy 250th birthday Rab.

Statues have been raised to the bard from Denver to Sydney. American presidents sing Auld Lang Syne, Russian children chant A Man’s a Man for A’ That. His verse has been translated into all the major languages of the world, including Chinese. Google “Robert Burns” and you will find something in the order of 3 million references. The blockbuster movie is only a matter of time. However, amid all this adulation and hero-worship, the creative works of Robert Burns are largely neglected at home by all but a few fanatics who come together once a year on the poet’s birthday.

As far back as 1926, the poet Hugh McDiarmid, an admirer of Burns’ writing, was aware of the harmful effects of the Burns “industry”, as was evident in his own epic poem, “A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle”;-



… the rest here

This is Me Since Yesterday

There are some expressions which stay with you from childhood, my favourite being the one above which I used to hear from friends of my mother or my granny when they met on the street. It always puzzled me but I suppose it was just an expression of the lack of progress made since they had last met. It reminds me too though of the absurdity of language (remember Billy Connolly’s “I’ll take my hand off your jaw”?) and the precision with which the Scots language is able to conjure up an image. Consider the grammatical contortions involved in the following statement to a news reporter during the Glasgow East by-election this week from a local woman caught in front of a microphone. Expressing amazement at the sheer volume of journalists and canvassers on the street she told the interviewer “my hoose hisnae haltit aw week at the front door.” Tells you everything you need to know but translate it directly into English and make sense of it!