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Tutors of Tomorrow - Megan Jones-Evans' experience

Tutors of Tomorrow - Megan Jones-Evans' experience

Megan Jones-Evans was one of the students on the Tiwtoriaid Yfory summer course with the National Centre for Learning Welsh during the summer of 2023.

At the time, she was in her final year at Leeds University studying Geography.

In this piece, she talks about her experience on the course.

Welsh language and culture was on my mind more than ever during my last year at Leeds University, as I had chosen to write my dissertation on how young people in Wales are experiencing the revival of the language.

Although my mother tongue is Welsh, I had never done more than wear the red shirt on rugby day, and sing "Yma O Hyd" with passion.

But from researching the history of the Welsh language, and more importantly, attitudes towards it, I came to understand how exciting and relevant this is in politics and the community today.

So, I started looking for more opportunities to immerse myself in the language, and I came across a two-week course by the National Centre for Learning Welsh introducing young people to a career as a Learn Welsh tutor.

I was lucky to get a place on the course, and words cannot express how much I enjoyed it. From the first morning, I was certain that this was the best choice I had made in years!

We were a small group of around 15, with most of them studying in Cardiff or north Wales, and a couple like me from universities in England.

Although we started the course as strangers, the welcome we received from Helen Prosser, Director of Learning and Teaching at the Centre, and course leader, ensured that we felt like old friends by the end of the first day.

In fact, Helen was the heart of the course, and the energy she shows to every aspect of the Welsh language and tutoring is inspiring.

During the two weeks, we were introduced to the world of Learning Welsh for adults - and the sessions were always full of enthusiasm and energy. We played language learning games and planned our own lessons to understand how to teach a language to others. I will remember Helen's voice singing “Eto! Eto!” forever!

But we weren't just learning how to be a tutor. An important part of the course was having guest speakers come and share their experiences with us. Individuals who worked in a wide range of jobs related to the Welsh language, from school teachers to Government civil servants.

I had never before understood all the effort that is being given into supporting the language at the moment. An effort that involves more than just teaching people Welsh.

We heard about the Welsh Government's ‘Llais y Gymraeg’ project and how changing mindsets and attitudes towards minority languages ​​such as Welsh is crucial. These sessions emphasised the importance of the role of Welsh tutors as more than a gateway to the language, but as representatives of Welsh culture.

As well as the course itself, another essential part was the other young people on the course. Although we did not know each other at the beginning, by the end of the course I felt that I had made good friends - as good as those I had made during my three years at University.

That was partly because Tafwyl fell on the weekend in the middle of the course. So we had the opportunity to spend time together outside the course, and see the modern world of the Welsh language today, and the importance of what we were learning.

It was a pleasure to be able to live through the medium of Welsh, and to feel that the world of the Welsh language represented more than school lessons and chatting with the family (as it was for me before then). By having the social element together with great course content, they succeeded in creating an unforgettable experience.

The Welsh language must be welcoming to everyone, and tutors are an essential part of ensuring this. This was the most important message that I took from the course and it has inspired me to think about pursuing a career as a Learn Welsh tutor.