It's Raining Lines And Tongues

Multilingual creative writing and performance poetry workshops led by Michael 'Gulliver' Vidon

'It's Raining Lines and Tongues' workshops are targeted at upper Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 students with the aim of :

  • celebrating home languages at school
  • developing children's meta-linguistic skills
  • growing their confidence as multilingual writers
  • drawing on the richness of the English language for monolingual children

By examining sayings and expressions, children investigate the metaphorical worlds of different languages, and work in small groups to produce a performance poem. Time to consider idioms in their own language beforehand often results in more interesting work. They are also invited to listen to poems from students from other schools.

In the course of these workshops, Michael Vidon, French-English bilingual poet and workshop facilitator, performs a few of his own poems and discusses how people use metaphors every day without realising. We are all poets and we don't know it. Following a warm-up session, the students brainstorm sayings in English or other languages and draw on their own experience to write performance poems that take idioms literally.

The 'It's Raining Lines and Tongues' podcast, commissioned by Apples and Snakes, captures poems by Year 5 and Year 6 students that tackle expressions such as 'two heads are better than one', 'break a leg' or even what Poles say when they are mad... It includes an interview of children talking about their relationship with the different languages they speak, as well as Michael Vidon's background and influences.

The poet's website also features a video of Michael Vidon performing a poem about his bilingual background.



Language Futures puts young people in control to create a deep sense of engagement in their learning and equips them with the skills and motivation to manage their own learning process.

The Language Futures approach is not designed to ‘teach’ a language, but to equip students to be autonomous and informed language learners, supported by a school, home and the wider community. Students’ learning is enabled through online learning, family support and mentoring with a foundation in project-based learning. Learners identify their own learning needs, with support, and engage in problem solving and research as well as with a variety of resources to support their own learning. Motivation and engagement are key to the approach with learners not only choosing the language they wish to learn, but also exercising choice in elements of what and how to learn. The class teacher acts as a facilitator of language learning rather than a teacher of a specific language by creating the conditions for students to manage their own learning processes and supporting them to learn collaboratively with their peers.

On the Language Futures website you will find:

  1. information on an innovative approach to language learning. This includes an overview of the approach, guidance on how to get started (with specific guidance for teachers, mentors and parents) as well as case studies exploring how the approach works in practice.
  2. A resources section containing eight projects. Each comprises the project plan with teaching objectives, learning goals, links to online resources and assessment grids. Other projects have additional worksheet resources that support pupils as they approach their learning in an independent way.

Organisations involved:

Contact: Language Futures Project Manager, Clodagh Cooney