Singing in two tongues

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Samoan students learning English at Whitireia have been putting their bilingualism to creative use. A recent CD of Samoan songs includes three tracks composed by Ester Temukisa Laban-Alama, tutor of the Basic English Skills programme, and her students.

Learning Media coordinated the Education Ministry-funded project and called for anyone interested to submit songs. The ten-track CD, along with resource material for teachers, is being distributed to all New Zealand primary schools free of charge.

Ester's students are encouraged to draw on their own culture and tradition to write stories and songs in Samoan which are then translated into English. Ester considers working creatively across the two cultures as a useful way to promote active learning.

ester laban with students

Ester Laban-Alama with English for Further Study students