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https://www.duolingo.com/indigo-madness

Irish and education in schools

(Hope this is relevant.) To all those that have gone through or are in the Irish secondary education system- what's your opinion on the way Irish is taught? Do you suggest any ways in which the language could be kept alive among more young people? I feel that the current (especially Leaving Certificate) course does nothing to interest the students and leaves many feeling bitter and unhappy about having to learn it. What can be done to make the teens a little more enthusiastic? Many things, such as programmes on TG4 or Radio Rí Rá do help, but what about the system?

And then, of course, is also the question of the growing numbers of gaelscoileanna. They're becoming popular- so maybe there is hope to be seen? Or are parents simply trying to make their children's lives easier for secondary school state exams? Any opinions?

1 year ago

5 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/AnLonDubhBeag

Irish is generally taught in a boring enough manner, similar to how Latin might be taught in other countries. There are some teachers who are quite good at it though.

The course has the problem of assuming students are essentially native speakers to some degree (studying advanced literature in a language you are nowhere near fluent in is a bit daft)

The Gaelscoileanna won't make any difference in my opinion, the same hopes and opinions about them helping the language have been made since the 1940s. I don't think they have an effect really, good or bad.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/indigo-madness

The one slight difference I've seen myself with the Gaelscoileanna is that many students (in an English-speaking secondary school0 who went through a Gaelscoil are that bit more confident. For some even that could have a little worth. And then there are some who are (figuratively) levels and levels above the rest of the class, and for whom the oral exam was a conversation like an English one for the rest. So maybe "slightly good but not revolutionising" would fit.

Well, the teaching aspect is one thing that needs proper looking at. Of course, this could be said about any subject at all, because teachers and styles vary, but Irish seems to gather the most stamina. Where's the issue? It probably is, as you say, the destructive assumption that a) In first year, we know all the basic grammar from primary school, while half of us had bo idea what's going on, b) Entering the leaving cert course our grammar is flawless and we can launch into vocabulary and essays concerning everything from homelessness to the health system. The poems and stories and (if in higher level) novels is another piece of bread. The emphasis is on analysis (HL) or telling the story (OL) which is not even that catastrophic but the stuff itself is atrocious. Things like Dís or An Triail don't increase enthusiasm. Sure, there must be Irish comedies out there?!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Marina_Sweeney

Irish is drilled into us at early ages of 5 or 6 so by the time you get to the Leaving Cert when you are 17 or 18 you would be sick and tired of it. You may think we'd be all fluent by that time ?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/indigo-madness

A complete outsider hearing someone has had 12 to 14 years of Irish would expect a fluent speaker. And here are some of us being much better at our Continental languages which are 5 years of study. While I can't ignore the fact that Spanish/French/German are that bit easier, I feel the issue could lie a little bit in every stage from infants to leaving cert. When we begin a continental language, we start from scratch, our brains are older than those of our primary school selves; we actually understand those grammar rules.

In the Junior cert years in Irish, however, an assumption is made we're ready for bigger stuff, and we aren't. Primary school was first verbs and vocabulary. If only we focused more on the practical Irish and less on the prós and poems from 1st to 3rd year! I get doing that for the lc, but junior cert should be used to build on skills, to make these fourteen years sound a little more like fourteen years.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AnonymouslyIrish
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It really comes down to your own interest and how dedicated your teacher is to the language. Personally, I had an amazing teacher, and went to the Gaeltacht, and so I went from being attrocious in Irish in first year, to essentially fluent in Leaving Cert; I even did some exams through Irish.

Some students will never be interested in Irish, or French, or German, or any other language, no matter how much effort is made. In my school, most of the girls in my year that had an interest in their foreign language were interested in Irish. I don't think lack of interest is an issue, I only graduated school 2 years ago and most of them loved the language.

I can't imagine changing the curriculum would help; it was changed 2-3 years before I did it, and that made it more oral based which helped put more focus on communication skills. People complain about having to do Irish poems and stories, but when you do any language at an intermediate/advanced level you have to do literature. Plus literature questions are graded mostly on knowledge of the text and not vocabulary or grammar.

Gaelscoils don't help in that aspect because they don't teach you the complex vocab needed in second level.

1 year ago