1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Irish
  4. >
  5. Years in the Irish Education …


Years in the Irish Education System Has Me Fearful of Irish!

But I must conquer my fear and learn the language of my ancestor! Has anyone else had this experience?

November 23, 2014



Your fear is justified. [Edited]. But try it anyway. :)


I'm starting from scratch and I'm loving learning Irish.

But this man had the same experience as you and he's bouncing back. http://www.fluentin3months.com/irish-interview/


Yes I love his blog!


For those of us who have had zero years in the Irish education system, what sort of fears are making your heart race as you contemplate learning the language of your ancestor?


A poor system. Moody teachers. A feeling that languages are not my strongest point.


If you became Ard Rí of the Irish education system, what changes would you introduce to improve it for future learners? (I presume that a teacher currently can’t be sacked for moodiness, and that there will always be people who feel that languages are not their strongest suit.)


I wonder if the system made me feel I was not that good at them. But I meet 99% of Irish who had the same or similar experience to me, so there is something to what I'm saying.

Moody teachers we will have which is one reason I think I did not like math either. Or metalwork... To this day I loathe those subjects. well, maybe not math so much, but I still feel it is a weak area. Is it coincidence that I had horrible teachers for those subjects and that I had great teachers for science, English, Home Economics?

I would recommend introducing a Duolingo type app for students, to make language more fun and interactive.


This is what I’m trying to understand — which part(s) of the system gave you, and 99% of the Irish whom you’ve met, that feeling? The teachers? The curriculum? The physical environment in which you were taught? Your classmates? Your parents? Self-doubt?

Perhaps I was fortunate during my classroom days, but I can’t remember having a single teacher who was both moody and expressed no interest in the subject being taught. A teacher’s character foibles didn’t bother me if I’d found the subject interesting beforehand, or if the teacher nevertheless managed to elicit interest in a subject despite the presence of all-too-human flaws in presentation.

Were your Irish language classes not primarily focused on conversation? If the focus was more on reading and writing, then I could understand how that could lessen the interest for many learners; but if a goal of the Irish state is to return Irish to a language in general use, then it seems as though a primary focus on conversation would be of use to increase interactivity between the learners, which in turn would likely increase the fun for most learners (perhaps excluding those who are more introverted in nature).


I had a great experience for the most part in primary school, and mostly good teachers, but Irish never stuck. And I know that is the same, not only for people I knew, but people I hear about all over Ireland. I'm not really sure why. I had a poor experience in secondary school for various reasons (but mostly a chaotic home life), that hindered any productivity that might have taken place there. However, the very regimental approach that seemed to be taken was repulsive to me. Lists of words, adjectives and nouns and verbs etc. Horrible!

My parents did not have enough money to send me to the Gaeltacht so I never got that immersive experience so important to fully grasp a language. It remained for me a mystery wrapped inside an enigma without a key.

I don't feel it so daunting anymore. One because my wife is not a native English speaker and knows Portuguese, English and French fluently (with a little Spanish), and programs like Duolingo put so much fun into it.


If while in primary school you’d only ever used Irish in your Irish language classes, then it’s not surprising that it wouldn’t stick — it would have been used for perhaps a few hours per week at most? I wonder what effect the increased amount of Irish language audiovisual media available now will have on today’s pupils.

Yes, rote learning certainly has its drawbacks. The types of unusual sentences that can be found here could help to instill a bit of fun into otherwise dry lists, even if apps don’t join schoolbooks in the classroom.


That's precisely the problem, rather than concentrating on oral Irish, the current system essentially teaches it like English literature, with a heavy focus on grammar, multiple tenses and essay writing. Only for the fact that I personally find it easy to acquire languages, I too might have given up on the language, just as people develop a block in relation to maths or science. TV has proven a major boost, after all watching live rugby or GAA in Irish will always prove more entertaining than Peig!

Learn Irish in just 5 minutes a day. For free.