Craig Cardiff explores the power of song with Woodroffe HS English Language Learners

Man plays guitar in circle with a group of students.

English Language Learners at Woodroffe High School were given the opportunity to put their words (in multiple languages!) to music with singer-songwriter, Craig Cardiff. 

Cardiff is a Juno-nominated Canadian folk artist who, in addition to recording and touring, runs workshops with students of all ages. His workshops aim to empower and unite students through song.

Most students who participated in the workshop are in the English Literacy Development program and are developing their English language, literacy and school skills.  Many have had periods of interrupted schooling in their lives and are newly arrived in Canada with varying levels of English.

The ELD/ESL teachers at Woodroffe High School are always searching for ways for their students to feel a sense of safety, belonging and empowerment. This songwriting workshop was the perfect opportunity for students to have ownership over their words and their stories.  Cardiff encouraged students to think and write about how they felt moving to a new country. The students were brave and eager to share their stories. They jumped right in, writing lyrics that meant something to them. After some time brainstorming and writing, Cardiff took each student’s song and put it to music.  He sang along with students as songs (and smiles!) were shared.   

Highlights included creating songs about family, home, migration and war. Students were open and honest about their past and their present.  Teacher Ann-Marie Reid hopes to continue the great work done in this workshop over the next semester.  

Images of hand, head and tree with the words culture of caring, innovation and social responsibility.
Culture of Innovation, Caring and Social Responsibility.
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