As a proud bilingual school, we have, over the last few years had a translation programme operating alongside our taught curriculum. This year, we are changing the way we do translation, and I have asked Mrs Kirstin McKie to write about our September translation challenge. She writes:
As a school, we recognise the value of regular reading to increase student attainment across all subjects, and as a proudly bilingual school, we are always seeking ways to develop our students’ linguistic abilities across English and Vietnamese. That is why we are so excited about a unique whole school project which combines our students reading, discussion and translation skills.
During September, all teachers and students from Year 7 to Year 13 are reading the same book, a verse novel called All the Broken Pieces. Written by author Ann E. Berg, it tells the story (in English) of a Vietnamese child’s journey for acceptance in the United States, which he finds through open-mindedness, friendship, teamwork, music and sport!
The International Literacy Association states that whole school reading of one text is a “unifying concept that creates a shared learning environment for traditionally discreet disciplines. Using a text that connects to a student’s life can open doors for discussions of critical issues.” Doors and minds are fully open in BVIS on Tuesday mornings, with students and teachers discussing some of the themes of the novel, and our bilingual learners making full use of their translanguaging skills to support each other’s understanding. They then proceed to translate sections of the book in form time on Thursday mornings.
Students in Years 7, 8 and 9 are our main translators for this project. They are divided into small teams, with each team taking responsibility for translating their unique pages. Students from Years 10 to 12 join them in their form rooms, to guide and encourage the younger students to think poetically and creatively when translating the novel from English into Vietnamese. Later this month, the older students will proofread all the pages and collate them into the first Vietnamese language version of Ann E. Berg’s book.
It is wonderful to see all our year groups working together so well and the older students have said how impressed they are with the younger students’ bilingual skills. Such supportive and shared bilingual learning experiences are a regular part of school life in BVIS and remind me how privileged we are to be educating your children.
My thanks to Mrs McKie and Ms Giang Tran for putting so much effort into this whole school project. It really has got off to the best of starts and it has been wonderful to see the older students working so closely with their younger peers.
I hope you all have a great week ahead.