Paul Hamlyn Foundation Teacher Development Fund

Exploring how music can help language learning

Primary schools in South Wales are taking part in an innovative project called Cerdd Iaith/Listening to Language, which is exploring how music can help language learning through rhyme, repetition and rhythm.

Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s Teacher Development Fund has awarded British Council Wales a grant for the project for a second year,  and we are continuing to work with schools and our partners BBC National Orchestra of Wales (BBC NOW), University of Wales Trinity Saint David and school consortium ERW.

The project has brought together musicians from BBC NOW and linguists to run workshops in schools, which aim to develop new and creative approaches to learning Welsh, Spanish and English. Several trilingual pieces of music have been composed and form the basis of the language learning, with pupils also exploring links between Patagonia and Wales. 

During the classroom sessions over three terms, the teachers and children were introduced to individual words and then whole phrases and sentences in Spanish, English and Welsh. The team used multimedia resources and musicians to introduce children to the melody, rhythm and tone of the words and phrases. 

During Summer term 2017, pupils had the chance to communicate and share their learning with pupils in Welsh speaking schools in Patagonia through their own Musicial Postcards.

In the second year of the project the focus on music and the rhythm of language is continuing, and other art forms, including dance and drama, are also being incorporated. The project will be working closely with school leaders to look at embedding learning through the arts into the curriculum, as well as working to support teachers in using the new online learning resource, which contains all the material developed for the project.

British Council Wales is hoping to show that arts-based approaches can provide powerful support for children from disadvantaged backgrounds as they prepare for secondary school. 

What are the aims of Cerdd Iaith / Listening to Language?

  • To build teachers’ skills, knowledge, confidence and interconnectedness to maximise the impact of arts for young people.
  • To promote effective partnerships between school teachers, school leaders and arts/ cultural practitioners and organisations.
  • To explore how arts-based learning can help children make an easier move from primary to secondary school. 

Participating schools 2017 - 2018

Plascrug Community School, Aberystwyth 

Ysgol Gymunedol T. Llew Jones, Llandysul 

Burry Port Community Primary School

Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Felindre, Swansea

Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Lon Las, Swansea

Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Gellionnen, Clydach, Swansea

Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Pontybrenin, Swansea

Ysgol Gymraeg y Cwm, Swansea

Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s Teacher Development Fund

Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s £1million Teacher Development Fund is a UK-wide initiative that helps teachers access high quality, sustained professional development and support effective arts-based practices in the primary classroom. 

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