5 Ways to Use Scots in Secondary School, and Beyond

Image of two girls talking in a classroom

Image by Valeer Vandenbosch on freeimages.com.

The pupils you teach have all learned a Scots poem at least, every year in January, when they were in Primary School. How can you build on that in the big school?

Vocabulary

At Education Scotland we have regional lists of a hundred key words in Scots: Scots Blether vocabulary lists. They are divided into parts of speech. Use these when you teach adjectives and so on. Help the learners to ‘over learn’ grammar by teaching it in both Scots and English. More of what you teach might stick. Giving learners an interest in words will really help to stretch their vocabulary.

 

From Orcadians conversing about cows to guys from Moray gossiping about ghosts, there are links to many interesting topics

Speaking and Listening

Scots Language Radio is a wonderful classroom resource. With eighteen episodes and a new one added each month, there is a variety of topics and plenty of regional Scots voices to use for listening activities. There is a log of the contents of episodes 11-15 and counting on the Blether Scots Language Radio Log. From Orcadians conversing about cows to guys from Moray gossiping about ghosts, there are links to many interesting topics. There are also routes into many subject areas apart from English: Music, Food and Health, Social Subjects and Religious and Moral Education being the most obvious.

 

Reading

Scots can be used in activities to support texts you are studying and can help to make these texts more accessible. Teacher Adam McNaughton’s Oor Hamlet, a poetic adaptation of Hamlet in Scots, demonstrates what is possible. Have your learners create a similar adaptation of a text you are studying, or do it for them yourself! You will find more topic- and text-related resources on The Scots Blether. Whatever your subject, you will be able to use Scots texts somehow.

 

Writing

There is a whole range of ways to give learners the confidence to write in Scots. Looking to other writers as models is always a good idea. Sir Walter Scott (Heart of Midlothian) used Scots for select dialogue only, Grassic Gibbon (Sunset Song) used Scots vocabulary and syntax in a prose which is mainly English, Anne Donovan (Gone Are the Leaves) switches codes for different points of view at times, James Andrew Begg (The Man’s the Gowd) writes nearly entirely in a broad yet easily accessible Scots, and Matthew Fitt (The Eejits by Roald Dahl) often translates well-known classics. Your learners can do any or all of this. You will find a sample lesson on this on The Scots Blether.

 

There is a whole range of ways to give learners the confidence to write in Scots

Inter-Disciplinary Learning

Keen Tae Ken Yir Kin is a super Education Scotland scheme to encourage learners to think about their own language and work with those who have a different variety of Scots. It is an eight-lesson programme that aims to give structure to exchanges between two classes in different geographical areas. The scheme includes a great deal of work involving Social Subjects, Technology and Health and Well Being, as well as Literacy and Language. Further details are on The Scots Blether. Contact Bruce.Eunson@educationscotland.gsi.gov.uk or Diane.Anderson@educationscotland.gsi.gov.uk for more support with this project. 

If you are a teacher in Scotland you will have access to The Blether on GLOW. If you have difficulties, email Diane.Anderson@educationscotland.gsi.gov.uk

 

To read this blog in Scots, click here.

Diane Anderson

Diane Anderson is a Scots Language Co-ordinator with Education Scotland.