Amanda Bray, Teacher Belmont Castle Academy, Purfleet.
Interview by Elizabeth Lynch
Production by Mike Johnston
Transcript by Jane Ford
Run time: 3:31
Hello, my name is Amanda Bray. I work at Belmont Castle Academy. I am Lead for English as an additional language within the school and I have been tasked with the exciting Trailblazer project called Silk River.
The Trailblazer project is really about developing our understanding of Arts, Literature, Culture and that has certainly done that for us with Silk River. In fact it has extended beyond just some of the curriculum subjects.
The children that I have had the pleasure to work with across Key Stage 2 have really embraced the Indian culture and particularly we concentrated on the artist Tagore.
So we picked 2 of his poems, one was called Paper Boats and one was Playthings and the children really liked Playthings . They were able to give their own identification really, of what they thought the poem was about and it was great to hear them talk about their interpretation.
So basically, I would get like a piece of cloth or like a flag or something and get some pegs and hang it on my washing line and I would move the washing line up and down and go behind it and pretend to put on a show. I would usually like play some music as well and do some singing, I’d dance or do whatever.
If I was as free as a bird I wish I could fly there and say hello. If I was as free as a bird I would live there every day and cherish every moment. I wouldn’t forget anything, I would remember all the fun. If I was as free as a bird I will always remember and never ever forget.
Do you want to tell us what that is about?
It is about ‘cause I can’t go back to my country because of war and my uncle gave me a book.
..and do you want to share your country?
Yemen that’s very good ….
So what we did was we used Tagore and the Patua artists and tried to interweave it to help children understand about art and culture.
Timing doesn’t always allow you to explore the things you want to and our children, to be introduced to Tagore, has given another dimension to their learning. What it has shown is that the creativity of children to write, the creativity of children with art, the creativity of children that wouldn’t normally stand out in a class have stood out.
People have shown an interest in history, in art, in culture. Children have had the opportunity to verbally express themselves, to think about their future, to talk about the things they are interested in. They have been inspired to talk about careers they may want and children at this age, don’t generally know. They definitely have certainly been inspired by Tagore, by the whole project.
I liked it when you came into our class to tell us about Tagore ‘cause none of us knew like who he was or what he did and I liked it how you introduced him to us and now we like have these lovely poems.
Yes, and who is he as famous as?
He is as famous as William Shakespeare
He is indeed.
My favourite part is when we went to go visit The Royal Opera House …..(trailed off)
Thank you to Amanda Bray and her pupils for taking the time to speak to us.
Thanks go to Kinetika, their staff and partners for the planning and facilitation of the Purfleet walk.
- Mike Ostler
- Acme Artists’ Studios
- Royal Opera House Construction workshop
- Royal Opera House Costume Department
- Royal Opera House Trailblazers
- South Essex College
- RSPB Rainham Marshes
- The Back Stage Centre
- St Stephens Community Trust
- High House Community Group
- Purfleet Community Hub
- Heritage and Military Centre