MTOT strapline

    Autumn 2016 will see the third year of Mother Tongue Other Tongue (MTOT) in Scotland. This exciting multilingual poetry project celebrates linguistic and cultural diversity through creative writing, and showcases the many languages which are spoken and learned by young people in school and at home.

    Run very successfully via Routes into Languages in England, SCILT then brought the competition to Scotland, initially as a pilot in Glasgow in 2014, which saw over 100 entries in 18 different languages. 2015/16 built on this success and saw the competition go nation-wide allowing all pupils from P1–S6 to participate; in fact we had over 400 children participate in 36 different languages!

    This year we are delighted to announce that we have the new Scots Makar, Jackie Kay, as our patron for the competition. As well as being the national poet of Scotland, Jackie is Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University and has received an MBE for her services to literature. Winners and highly commended entrants will be lucky enough to meet Jackie when she presents the awards at our celebration event in March 2017. Listen to Jackie speaking about the poetry competition and supporting the aims and values of MTOT

    MTOT 2015-16 anthology cover

    Be inspired by last year's entries - click on the image of the 2015-16 MTOT Anthology on the right to read the winning poems.

    To find out more about this year's competition and about last year's events, click on the appropriate tab below and get ready for Mother Tongue Other Tongue 2016-17. 

    The deadline for this year’s competition is 16 December 2016, teachers please register your interest before 7 November 2016. More information about the 2015-16 winners and celebration event can be found below.

    Share what pupils are working on for MTOT on Twitter -

    • MTOT 2016-17
    • Why take part?
    • MTOT 2015-16 celebration event
    • Previous events
    • Testimonials
    • MTOT blog
    • Resources
    • Workshops

    Information about the competition

    The competition is split into two categories:

    character speaking PolishMother Tongue encourages children, who do not speak English as a first language, to share a lullaby, poem, rap or song from their mother tongue and to write a short commentary in English about why this piece is important to them. Or, pupils may wish to submit an original piece, written in their mother tongue language, accompanied by a commentary in English detailing the inspiration behind their writing. In Scotland, pupils will be able to submit commentaries on Scots and Gaelic texts in this category.

    character speaking French

    Other Tongue encourages children learning another language in school (French, Spanish, German, Italian, Mandarin, Urdu, Gaelic, and Cantonese) to use that language creatively by writing an original poem, rap or song in that other tongue.

    A short accompanying text should also be included outlining their inspiration.


    Are you a teacher in a primary or secondary school?

    September will see the official launch of the competition with poetry and creative writing workshops for teachers taking place at our HE partner institutions across the country (dates and venues tbc). 

    Registration to take part in the competition is open to schools from August 2015. Schools had until 9 October 2015 to register online - registration is now closedThe closing date for entries to the competition is Friday 18 December 2015, with judging taking place during January 2016.

    The competition is open to all schools in Scotland and will be judged under the following categories:

    • P1 – P3
    • P4 - P6
    • P7 - S1
    • S2 - S3 
    • S4 - S6

    The winning poems, as well as a wider selection of commendable entries, will be compiled and published in a Mother Tongue Other Tongue anthology. There will be additional prizes, so start thinking now about how you might get involved.

    Mother Tongue Other Tongue is an ideal platform for pupils to be creative and to find their own voice. It may be used to support the following activities in school:

    • Creative approaches to Primary Language Learning
    • Centre run competitions 
    • Learning and teaching on existing units of work, e.g. Scots poetry or Gaelic song 
    • P7 to S1 Transition projects
    • IDL projects between English, Modern Languages and other departments
    • Cross-stage creative writing groups
    • Overtaking Es and Os in Literacy and English, Literacy and Gaidhlig, Modern Languages and Literacy Across Learning
    • EAL creative writing

    These are just a few suggestions, but you may have ideas of your own. Why not visit our poetry resources page, where we have collated a number of downloadable poetry and language materials as well as links to useful websites. You could also read the 2014 wining poems featured in our anthology for some further inspiration or take a look at the MTOT website from Routes into Languages North West and Manchester Metropolitan University to see how the competition ran in England and Wales last year.  This video they produced contains highlights from the MTOT celebration event held in Manchester on 29 June 2015 and features the boxer, Amir Khan, and Poet Laureate, Dame Carol Ann Duffy, amongst others speaking about the benefits of the competition and having language skills.

    Follow our MTOT Scotland blog for updates as the competition unfolds here in Scotland.

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    The pilot 2014-15 competition launched on 30 May 2014 with an event at the University of Strathclyde and culminated with a celebration event as part of the 'Wee Write' children's book festival in the Mitchell Theatre, Glasgow on 7 March 2015.

    For information about the events and the supporting writers, poets and performers who helped to bring the competition alive, follow the links below:

    As well as the workshops offered to participating teachers and pupils, SCILT produced a catalogue of resources and the MTOT blog, offering helpful ideas, tips and advice throughout the competition, both of which can be accessed via the tabs above.

    See what some of the previous participants, teachers and parents have said about the competition:

    Throughout the competition regular postings were made to the MTOT blog to form the 'Creative Bag of Tricks' series.  These provided a variety of ideas and resources for writing and creating different forms of poetry as well as competition updates.

    Access the MTOT blog to see last year's Creative Bag of Tricks series.

    The blog will be resurrected for the 2015-16 competition, so make sure you bookmark the page and check back regularly for updates.  Or you can sign up to receive the SCILT weekly e-bulletin issued each Friday.

    MTOT blog

    The 'Creative Bag of Tricks' series on the MTOT blog provides a number of suggested poetry activities for the classroom.

    Poetry resources

    We have produced a number of resources and collated links to various websites to help teachers prepare their pupils for the competition.

    These cover a selection of poetry styles and techniques as well as examples of foreign language poems and themed poetry.

    Examples of Mother Tongue Other Tongue poetry  (NEW!)

    The above presentation contains a collection of entries to the competition in Glasgow during 2014 and the competition run by Routes into Languages/Manchester Metropolitan University in 2015.

    Mother Tongue winning poetry examples (2014-15)

    Through the link above you can see examples from the competition in Glasgow as well as those from the competition run in England by Routes into Languages and Manchester Metropolitan University.

    Teacher's pack 2015-16

    To help guide teachers wishing to take part in the competition the teacher's pack outlines the categories, criteria and rules.  The pack also contains relevant submission and consent forms which should be completed as appropriate during the competition.

    Workshops / lesson plan

    Teachers from schools registered for the competition had the opportunity to sign up for creative writing workshops during September/October 2015.  Registration for these events has now closed. For those unable to attend we hope to produce a lesson plan which can be used in the classroom.

    MTOT 2015-16 flyer

    Spread the word!  Download the competition flyer for your school noticeboard.

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