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Welsh workshop with Year 7: Jessica Mills

Title: A film-based Welsh workshop
To produce an adapted translation of the story of Branwen
Age group:
Year 7 (age 11–12)
Participants: 34
2 hours

What we did

The session began with a game which required students to to think of an adjective that began with the same sound as their name. They were then shown two short clips from the films Frozen and Brave, having been instructed beforehand to think of adjectives to describe the princesses they saw in the clips. After that they were introduced to the story of Branwen and asked if the adjectives from the previous activity could be used to describe Branwen herself. Their next task was to make a literal translation of parts of the story using glossaries, and then they played a game in which they compared the original stories of Rapunzel and The Little Mermaid with the modern Disney versions. After having had a part of the Branwen story adapted for them as a model, the students adapted their literal translation to make Branwen’s character more like that of the princesses we had encountered in Frozen and Brave. Students then read out their adapted translations and we discussed the different versions produced by each group, emphasising the validity of each one to make the point that there can be no definitive translation.

What we got out of it

The students told their teacher that they had found the session useful: as well as giving them the opportunity to practise translating, it had helped reinforce vocabulary they had learnt in class (Welsh is taught in the school as a second language). It also helped students to see language as a creative tool, not just something to be learnt in a classroom setting. With regards to specific skills, the workshop helped with basic literacy and spelling in Welsh as well as English, and encouraged students to think creatively as they tried to come up with completely new ideas in order to adapt the story. Creative writing skills were also practised as students had to use different verbs, adjectives, etc from those in the original story.