BlogBird on Horizon

As the development of Wales’ new national curriculum gathers pace, Professor Mererid Hopwood calls on all key stakeholders to remain open minded and ambitious for the opportunities it presents…


As the new term races ahead, the Pioneers’ perseverance must be admired. The fast-approaching submission deadlines demand a shorter night’s sleep to make room for lesson preparations, marking and assessing so that another day can be dedicated to the Cause of Creating the New Curriculum. They’re driven, no doubt, by the knowledge that amidst all the ‘What Matters’ statements, this Really Does Matter.

It’s a unique opportunity to ensure that the next generations of learners in Wales grow to be healthy, creative, enterprising, ambitious, knowledgeable about Wales and the world and confident lifelong learners.

This word confident is important. It’s the key that can open the door to the other aims. Without giving our young people confidence, we can hardly expect them to nurture ambition, entrepreneurship or creativity, let alone healthy minds and bodies.

From where does confidence come? It’s said that it was Goethe, the German genius, who first spoke of the two things the older generation should pass to the younger as being ‘roots and wings’. And though there is obvious tension between these two elements – the roots on the one hand keeping us in place, the wings on the other enabling us to fly – we understand full well the point made.

However paradoxical it may sound, we can see how children can draw on firm roots to gain the confidence that enables them to venture on the wings of ambition and curiosity, and to witness the wonderful, wide world about them.

(We should note, of course, the difference between ‘to fly’ and ‘to flee’. Let’s not create a curriculum that encourages an ambition to flee rather than fly.)

How can roots be laid? This depends on nurturing a sense of belonging that is akin to that sense of recognising ourselves as part of a greater whole. As Waldo Williams, the great Pembrokeshire poet put it, this recognition is the finding of a common root under the branches; that one root that reminds us that, deep, deep down, we all share the same story.

I was recently addressing a group of 20-year-olds, all of whom had been educated in Wales. I asked them to jot down one interesting thing about where they were brought up. No pencil scratched the paper. No finger tapped the screen. Nothing came. Only silence. I then wrote on the board a list of dates: 383, 1066, 1536, 1588, 1847, 6/5/1999. The only one that rang a bell in their minds was 1066. The others were nothing but insignificant numbers.

It’s long overdue that we in Wales opened our minds, widen our horizons and set about learning the story that surrounds us in our fields and hills and mountains, in our streams and rivers and seas, in our communities and families. This is a story that includes everybody who lives and who comes to live in Wales.

It’s our privilege to share these stories, this history, and to add to the collection, all of us bringing our own various colours and making it richer. This is how we may strengthen the roots that give us a sense of belonging. This is how we can make whole our fragmented society. This is how we can reach out and grasp a successful future.

I then asked the same group how many of them could speak Welsh. A handful nodded ‘yes’, even though every single one of them had received Welsh lessons for 10 years or more, meaning that they could all therefore say at least something in Welsh.

As the new curriculum works towards fulfilling every learner’s right in Wales to become confident speakers of both the official languages of the jurisdiction in which they live, it’s time to throw out the mistaken belief that ‘being bilingual’ means being equally fluent in two languages.

There are many degrees on the bilingual scale; and given that one of the most important steps on the journey towards becoming comfortable in speaking any language is to have enough confidence to give it a go, we must embrace all the degrees of that scale. As I like to remind people, if you see a sign such as ‘Allan/Exit’ and know it doesn’t mean that if you’re called Allan you must leave, then you’re already on the Bilingual Bus… and if you can say ‘Llanelli’, then you’ve long left the depot.

As with the work of sharing our history and stories, we must have a much broader attitude towards language learning if we want to see this new curriculum bringing us together in a shared linguistic community.

This is not about creating monochrome uniform. To the contrary. This is about creating a variety that’s inclusive, where all of us have the same privileges and the same set of keys to access the big picture-story, and where we all feel that we can add to it through the medium of at least two languages.

We cannot hope to see a successful future for us as a collective of individuals unless we nurture a sense of belonging. Cymru, after all, literally means ‘a shared land’ and I often find myself thinking that ‘The Together Land’ would be a better translation than ‘Wales’, (which in turn, literally means the land of the others, the foreigners).

Be that as it may. Together we need to embrace this opportunity to understand how each of us can play a part in our small, shared country and the big, shared world. This will enable us to raise our confidence and reach the four worthy purposes of the new curriculum.

Pioneers! Daliwch ati! Keep Going!

  • Professor Mererid Hopwood is an expert in Languages and Cwricwlwm Cymreig at Yr Athrofa: Institute of Education, University of Wales Trinity Saint David


  1. Hi are using WordPress for your blog platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and create my own. Do you require any html coding expertise to make your own blog?
    Any help would be really appreciated!

  2. Hey! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I genuinely enjoy reading through your articles.
    Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same topics?
    Many thanks!

  3. I am really loving the theme/design of your blog. Do you
    ever run into any browser compatibility problems? A number of my blog visitors have complained about
    my blog not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Chrome.

    Do you have any advice to help fix this problem?

  4. Admiring the persistence you put into your blog and
    in depth information you present. It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same unwanted rehashed
    information. Fantastic read! I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  5. First off I would like to say wonderful blog! I had a quick
    question which I’d like to ask if you do not mind.

    I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your head before writing.
    I’ve had trouble clearing my thoughts in getting my
    ideas out. I truly do enjoy writing but it just seems like
    the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be lost just trying to figure out how
    to begin. Any recommendations or tips? Cheers!

  6. I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was good.

    I don’t know who you are but certainly you’re going to a famous blogger
    if you are not already 😉 Cheers!

  7. Hi everybody, here every one is sharing these familiarity, so it’s fastidious to read this web site,
    and I used to pay a visit this blog daily.

  8. Excellent beat ! I wish to apprentice even as you amend your site,
    how can i subscribe for a weblog web site? The
    account aided me a acceptable deal. I were tiny bit familiar of this your broadcast provided bright clear idea

  9. wonderful issues altogether, you simply received a new reader.
    What might you suggest in regards to your put up that you
    simply made some days ago? Any certain?

  10. I do agree with all the ideas you’ve introduced in your post.

    They are very convincing and can certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are too
    short for beginners. Could you please prolong them
    a bit from subsequent time? Thank you for the post.

  11. Hello! Do you know if they make any plugins to protect against hackers?
    I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard on. Any

  12. Attractive section of content. I just stumbled upon your blog and
    in accession capital to assert that I acquire in fact enjoyed account your blog posts.

    Anyway I’ll be subscribing to your augment and even I achievement you access consistently quickly.

  13. Hi there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my twitter group?
    There’s a lot of people that I think would really enjoy
    your content. Please let me know. Cheers

  14. I feel that is among the so much vital info for me.

    And i’m satisfied reading your article. However wanna remark on few common issues, The site style is
    ideal, the articles is in point of fact excellent : D.
    Good task, cheers

  15. An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto
    a colleague who had been conducting a little research on this.
    And he actually bought me breakfast due to the fact that I discovered it for him…

    lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thanks for the meal!!
    But yeah, thanks for spending the time to discuss this matter here on your website.

  16. What’s up i am kavin, its my first time to commenting anywhere,
    when i read this post i thought i could also make comment due to this
    sensible paragraph.

  17. I think this is one of the most vital info for me.
    And i am glad reading your article. But want to remark
    on some general things, The web site style is great, the articles is really excellent : D.

    Good job, cheers

  18. Amazing things here. I’m very happy to see your article.
    Thanks so much and I’m taking a look ahead to touch you.
    Will you kindly drop me a e-mail?

  19. I’m curious to find out what blog system you happen to be utilizing?
    I’m having some small security problems with my latest site and I’d like to find something more secure.
    Do you have any solutions?

  20. We absolutely love your blog and find almost all of your post’s to be exactly I’m looking for.
    Does one offer guest writers to write content to suit your needs?
    I wouldn’t mind writing a post or elaborating on most of the subjects
    you write with regards to here. Again, awesome website!

  21. Hi! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but
    after reading through some of the post I realized it’s new
    to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and checking back

  22. Hi all, here every person is sharing these know-how,
    thus it’s pleasant to read this webpage, and I used to pay a visit this weblog every day.

  23. I loved as much as you will receive carried out right here.

    The sketch is tasteful, your authored subject matter stylish.
    nonetheless, you command get bought an impatience over that you
    wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come further formerly
    again as exactly the same nearly a lot often inside case you shield this hike.

  24. I’ve read some excellent stuff here. Definitely value
    bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how much effort you put
    to make any such wonderful informative web site.

  25. Valuable information. Fortunate me I found your website by chance,
    and I’m surprised why this coincidence didn’t happened in advance!
    I bookmarked it.

  26. I really love your blog.. Very nice colors & theme. Did
    you build this amazing site yourself? Please reply back as I’m planning to create my own blog and would like to learn where you got this from or
    what the theme is named. Thanks!

  27. With havin so much content and articles do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright violation? My website has a lot of completely unique content I’ve either created
    myself or outsourced but it looks like a lot
    of it is popping it up all over the internet without my
    agreement. Do you know any ways to help prevent content from being ripped off?
    I’d genuinely appreciate it.

  28. Howdy! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and
    say I truly enjoy reading through your posts.
    Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same topics?

  29. My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find a lot of your post’s to be exactly I’m looking for.
    Do you offer guest writers to write content for
    you personally? I wouldn’t mind producing a post or elaborating on a few of the subjects you write related to here.
    Again, awesome website!

  30. Good day! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after going through a
    few of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely pleased I found it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back regularly!

  31. Please let me know if you’re looking for a article writer for
    your blog. You have some really good posts and I believe I would be a good asset.
    If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d love to write some material for your blog in exchange
    for a link back to mine. Please blast me an e-mail if interested.


  32. Hello there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it’s really informative.
    I’m going to watch out for brussels. I’ll be grateful if
    you continue this in future. Many people will be benefited from
    your writing. Cheers!

  33. Hmm is anyone else experiencing problems with the pictures on this
    blog loading? I’m trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or
    if it’s the blog. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  34. What’s Taking place i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve discovered It absolutely useful and it has helped me out
    loads. I am hoping to give a contribution & help different customers like
    its aided me. Great job.

  35. I don’t even know how I finished up right here, however I thought this publish
    was once good. I don’t know who you are however certainly
    you’re going to a famous blogger in case you are not already.

  36. Excellent blog here! Also your web site loads up very fast!
    What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host?

    I wish my website loaded up as quickly as yours lol

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Post comment