Méid an Téacs

(English) 12 Surprising Benefits Of Learning A Second Language

Aibreán 26, 2017

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Children with two languages excel at school

Aibreán 18, 2017

Children who are brought up speaking two or more languages outperform their peers in English and maths by the age of seven, research has found.

Data on 19,000 British children in the Millennium Cohort Study found that those who spoke more than one language at home lagged behind at school at ages three, four and five. However, they then powered ahead, leaving behind those who spoke only English.

The findings suggest that teachers and the government should encourage parents to use their native tongue at home. The research was conducted by Anita Staneva at the University of Sydney and will be presented today at the annual conference of the Royal Economics Society in Bristol.

It suggests a wider benefit to children of speaking a foreign language, Dr Staneva said, adding that parents often think those children are at a disadvantage because one or both of their parents are non native speakers and so compensate by doing extra work with them.

Other research has shown speaking two difference languages from an early age actually helps shape the brain. Technological advances have allowed researchers to investigate how bilingualism interacts with the neurological system. It has emerged that in order to maintain the balance between two languages, a bilingual child relies heavily on “executive function”, the control room which organises the rest of the brain.

This constant practice strengthens the control mechanisms which lead to better learning capabilities, problem solving, memory and other skills later on.

One study found the “executive function” was more developed among children from bilingual homes even from the time when they are babies, simply because of listening to two different languages.

Foinse: The Times


Aibreán 18, 2017

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Its Understood KWETB Is Examining Options For North Kildare Gaelcholáiste Accommodation

Aibreán 18, 2017

Its understood that Kildare Wicklow Education & Training Board is “examining accommodation options” for a Gaelcholáiste in North Kildare.

The school is sceduled to open in Maynooth in 2019.

Maynooth Community College opened in 2014 with an Irish-medium Aonad.

The Dept. of Education has consistently stated that, should the Aonad demonstrate sufficient viability over a four year period, a Gaelcholáiste would be established.

Its co-patrons will be KWETB and An Foras Pátrúnachta.

The training board site assessment process involes consideration of the timing and availability of appropriate infrastructure in the Maynooth area.

Kildare North Labour Party Representative Emmet Stagg has welcomed the beginning of this assessement and stated that he would continue to press the Minister on this issue to ensure that the Gaelcholaiste opens on time in 2019.

Foinse: KFM Radio

Sod turned for Gaelscoil

Aibreán 11, 2017

The sod has been turned on the new Gaelscoil Mhic Amhlaigh school building at Miller’s Lane, Knocknacarra.

Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs, Seán Kyne turned the first sod on Monday, officially marking the commencement of construction of the new school building and campus for Gaelscoil Mhic Amhlaigh.

The school will be one of the largest Irish medium primary schools in Ireland, accommodating up to 720 pupils. The new building will consist of 24 classroom school with associated play area and parking facilities.

School principal Dairiona Nic Con Iomaire said, “Today marks another significant milestone in the history of Gaelscoil Mhic Amhlaigh.

“From small beginnings in 1993 with just 20 pupils, we have grown over the years to meet the demands of the Knocknacarra community for Irish medium education.

“This new school building, which represents the first phase of the development of Campus Mhic Amhlaigh will help us as a school community not only to keep apace with the school’s needs but also to further support the broader development of the Irish language in what is the only suburban Gaeltacht in Ireland.”


Census shows we must rethink our approach to Irish and the Gaeltacht

Aibreán 10, 2017

There are now more ‘new speakers’ of Irish committed to the language than there are native speakers in the Gaeltacht

The 2016 Census returns, published this week, contain bad news for the Irish language, with a decline across all significant categories: daily speakers of Irish outside the education system and knowledge of and use of Irish in the Gaeltacht. The fall in the Gaeltacht is particularly dramatic – an 11 per cent drop in daily speakers outside the education system within the past five years – and provides further confirmation of the decline of Irish in its traditional heartland, a change which has been documented extensively in recent years.

Although the latest Census figures also illustrate a fall in daily speakers outside the Gaeltacht, that reduction, from 54,010 to 53,217 people, is very small (just over 1 per cent). There has also been an 0.8 per cent increase in the numbers of weekly speakers outside the education system, which probably include those who speak Irish well but lack opportunities to do so. This confirms another existing trend: that the numbers speaking Irish regularly outside the Gaeltacht, although small, are more stable than the equivalent figures from the Gaeltacht.

Research on these “new speakers” of Irish – fluent and committed speakers who were not raised with the language in the Gaeltacht – shows that some look to the Gaeltacht as the model, although it is declining, while others are attempting to create new models such as the recent Pop-Up Gaeltacht events around the country. This is a European-wide trend and is being explored by a European research network on “new speakers in a multilingual Europe”.

The network spans 28 European countries and looks at situations where minority languages (including Irish) are acquired by non-traditional means and in non-traditional settings. Researchers involved in the project have been looking at the role that “new speakers” play in the future of these languages. The project is led by Heriot-Watt University in Scotland and involves more than 28 partners from across Europe, including the National University of Ireland, Galway and the University of Limerick. In addition to Irish, other languages involved include Basque, Breton, Catalan, Galician, Scottish Gaelic and Welsh.

New speakers of Irish or other minority languages learn the language outside of the home, school, through adult-classes or other formal means. New speakers differ from simple learners in that they are committed to speaking the language on a regular basis and seeking out opportunities to use the language.

There are now more new speakers of Irish than native speakers. We have spoken at length with many such speakers from a range of backgrounds and from different parts of the country. They have different stories to tell but what they have in common is that they are deeply committed to the language. This is what makes them want to use the language and to put 13 years of school Irish into practice.

Some newcomers to the language have decided to model their Irish on traditional Gaeltacht varieties. This has sometimes been through dedicated self-study or visits to the Gaeltacht. Some new speakers idealise a traditional Gaeltacht variety and are can be critical of newer forms of “learner” Irish.

At the same time, some other new speakers see themselves as fluent Irish speakers and are less concerned with speaking with a Gaeltacht blas. Some even flaunt what they proudly refer to as “Dublin Irish”. Others still consider themselves “experts” in Irish. There are also some who lack confidence in terms of grammatical accuracy and fluency. We have seen a wide range of abilities. This is often linked to opportunities to use Irish and the amount of practice these speakers can get. There are some new speakers whose use of Irish does not go beyond their weekly ciorcal cainte at the local community hall or local coffee shop.

These speakers are often reluctant to engage in what they perceive as more fluent speakers. Nonetheless, they are committed to their weekly conversational groups which often involved heated debate about the Tuiseal Ginideach or irregular verbs. Newcomers to Ireland are also part of the mix and we also came across many new speakers of non-Irish origin. These speakers had often learned Irish to a very high level and are dedicated supporters of the language.

New speakers of Irish are not of course restricted to Ireland itself. We came across vibrant communities of Irish speakers at Irish Centres in the United States and online communities of language learners spanning the four corners of the world. This shows the extent to which Irish has moved beyond what we would normally think of as Irish-speaking areas.

Among new speakers, there is a strong sense of “becoming” and a desire to joining an existing group of regular Irish speakers who are committed to the future of the language. “Becoming” an Irish speaker can be a life-changing experience for people which can involve sending their children to a Gaelscoil or speaking Irish at home.

Although the teaching of Irish at school is often presented as a failure, we found that becoming an Irish speaker was often prompted by an inspirational Irish teacher. Whatever the reason though, becoming a new speaker of Irish requires a huge personal effort. Becoming an Irish speaker is a journey and for those who embark on that journey, there is always more to be learned.

Native speakers of Irish and their historical links to the Gaeltacht are an important part of new speakers’ consciousness. Some new speakers talk about tensions with native speakers. These speakers tend to have little interest in traditional Irish but will happily speak their own hybridised variety among themselves. Others forge strong links and friendships with Gaeltacht speakers, based on the common goal of promoting the use of Irish.

Most new speakers see themselves as having a role in the future of Irish. The 2012 Gaeltacht Act, while not without its faults, is the first recognition of the need to plan for Irish-speaking networks outside the traditional Gaeltacht. However the Census returns provide no evidence that the poorly-funded language planning process being rolled out in the Gaeltacht and elsewhere is having a positive impact.

Investment in community-based language planning, aimed both at the Gaeltacht and at new speakers, needs to be increased substantially for it to have any chance of success. The paltry sums allocated to the current 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language fall well short of what is required. Indeed successive governments have shown themselves to be particularly apathetic on the language question; the Language Commissioner (Coimisinéir Teanga) recently published a damning indictment of the falling standard of public services in Irish rather than the progress envisaged by the Official Languages Act 2003. These Census returns are a stark warning that the continuous increase over recent decades in the numbers of those claiming competence in Irish cannot be taken for granted. It can only be hoped that they will be a wake-up call and lead to a more engaged and pro-active public policy that will recognise the needs of regular speakers of Irish throughout the country.

Dr John Walsh is a senior lecturer in Irish at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Prof Bernadette O’Rourke works in the Department of Languages and Intercultural Studies at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburg

Foinse: Irish Times

Daonáireamh 2016 agus an Ghaeilge

Aibreán 10, 2017

Dr Niall Comer – Uachtarán Chonradh na Gaeilge / Ollscoil Uladh

Tá go leor ráite sna meáin le roinnt laethanta anuas maidir le torthaí an daonáirimh a foilsíodh i rith na seachtaine seo caite.

Níl aon amhras gur cúis mhór imní atá sna figiúirí ina léirítear an chéad ladghú ar líon na gcainteoirí Gaeilge ó dheas ó bhí 1946 ann.

Tháinig laghdú de níos lú ná 1% ar líon na ndaoine a bhfuil Gaeilge acu (ó 1,774,347 go 1,761,420), agus laghdú de 4% ar líon na ndaoine nach bhfuil sa chóras oideachais a bhíonn ag caint Gaeilge ar bhonn laethúil (ó 77,185 go 73,803), agus b’fhéidir gurb í seo an ghné is suntasaí de seo, gur tháinig titim de 11% ar líon na gcainteoirí laethúla Gaeilge sa Ghaeltacht (ó 23,175 go dtí 20,586).

Chuir Steve Ó Cúláin, Príomhfheidhmeannach Údarás na Gaeltachta, in iúl go mbaineann an titim seo go mór leis na “laghduithe suntasacha” i ndaonra na gceantar Gaeltachta agus “cúinsí eile” agus cé go bhfuil an ceart aige go bhfuil an scéal imithe in olcas de bharr na heisimirce éigeantaí, is léir don dall nach bhfuil ag éirí le cur i bhfeidhm Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge 2010-30.

Baineann an teip seo go príomha leis an easpa infheistíochta ó Rialtas na hÉireann sa Straitéis ó 2010, agus ní mór dul i ngleic leis seo láithreach, óir tá cruachás agus géarchéim sna Gaeltachtaí dá bharr.

Ní féidir leis an Rialtas an neamart atá déanta aige sa Straitéis seo a shéanadh.

Is iondúil nuair a thugann Rialtas faoi straitéis nua in aon earnáil eile, ar nós na straitéise um fhorbairt tuaithe, go ndéantar measúnú ar an mhaoiniú atá riachtanach chun forálacha na straitéise a chur i bhfeidhm agus cuirtear buiséad agus acmhainní breise ar fáil dá bharr.

Ní dhearnadh é seo i gcás Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge 2010-30 agus ina theannta sin ghearr an Rialtas siar maoiniú ollmhór ón dá gníomhaire stáit ar a dtiteann an fhreagracht is mó leis an straitéis seo a chur i bhfeidhm (laghdaíodh buiséad caipitil Údarás na Gaeltachta ó 18 milliún in 2010 go €7 milliúin in 2016 agus laghdaíodh buiséad Fhoras na Gaeilge ó €18.2 milliúin in 2010 go €14.5 milliún in 2016).

Ar ndóigh, d’fhógair an tAire Stáit i rith na seachtaine go mbeadh maoiniu breise de €735,000 ag Údarás na Gaeltachta agus €115,000 ag Foras na Gaeilge san iomlán “chun cur ar a gcumas an próiseas pleanála teanga a bhrú chun cinn” ach mhaithfí don té a déarfadh nach bhfuil oiread na fríde sa mhéid seo i gcomparáid leis an chineál infheistíochta atá riachtanach le dul i ngleic le meath na nGaeltachtaí.

Ní mór don Rialtas an dúshlan ollmhór atá léirithe i bhfigiúirí an daonáirimh a fhreagairt tríd an phlean infheistíochta atá aontaithe ag 80 grúpa Gaeilge agus Gaeltachta a mhaoiniú mar is ceart, ach ina theannta sin, beidh comhoibriú ag teastáil ón phobal, ón Stát go ginearálta agus ó na hearnálacha príobháideacha agus deonacha chun cor dearfach a chur i gcinniúint na nGaeltachtaí

Cé gur ábhar imní atá sna figiúirí sa daonáireamh ó thaobh na Gaeilge de, tá ábhar dóchais ann.

Tháinig méadú de 8% ar líon na ndaoine a bhíonn ag baint úsáide as an Ghaeilge lasmuigh den chóras oideachais ar bhonn seachtainiúil agus ní mór a thabhairt chun cuimhne an borradh ar chéatadán na ndaoine a bhfuil Gaeilge acu ó níos lú ná 20% den daonra 100 bliain ó shin go beagnach níos lú 40% sa lá atá inniu ann, ardú a tháinig de bharr obair na hathbheochana agus in ainneoin neamart leanúnach rialtais na hÉireann.

Léiríonn na figiúirí seo thíos ó Chonradh na Gaeilge treochtaí áirithe sa daonáireamh, agus ardaítear go leor ceisteanna dá bharr.

Is suntasach gur tháinig an laghdú is mó ar líon na gcainteoirí Gaeilge san aoisghrúpa 25-34 (aois an bháid bháin) ach gur san aoisghrúpa 5-14 a tháinig an fás is mó (thuas), agus gur fás thar a bheith suntasach atá ann.

Tá an chuma air (thíos) gur sna ceantair Ghaeltachta nach bhfuil cathair iontu is mó a tháinig an laghdú i bpobal labhartha na teanga agus is féidir go dtacaíonn an léiriú seo leis an ghá atá leis an obair atá idir lámha sna limistéir phleanála teanga.

Cibé léamh a bhíonn ar an daonáireamh, áfach, is soiléir go bhfuil neamart á dhéanamh ar an Ghaeilge ar an leibhéal is airde agus is soiléire fós an gá le gníomhú air seo láithreach.

Foinse: Meon Eile

Gaelscoil Bhaile Brigín 10 mbliana ag fás!

Aibreán 10, 2017

Gaelscoil Bhaile Brigín first opened its doors on the 4th September 2006 in Sunshine House, with 2 teachers and 35 students. This wonderful achievement came about as the result of 2 years of hard work and dedication of the Founding Committee. They worked tirelessly to raise awareness, enrol potential students, raise funds and achieve recognition from the Department of Education and Skills.

gaelscoil_bhaile_briginIt was a historical day for the town of Balbriggan and the school has grown and flourished over the last 10 years to a school with 485 students, 26 teachers, 7 SNAs and ancillary staff. There are 16 mainstream classes and 2 ASD classes.

The school and ASD classes are educated through the medium of Irish. They also engage in many extra curricular and cultural activities such as sport, drama, music and various afterschool clubs. Parental involvement remains an important aspect of the school. The school also now benefits from access to a Gaelcholáiste ( Coláiste Ghlór Na mara ) in the town.

A wonderful day was had in the school on 6/4/17 to celebrate the success and growth of the school, with musicians, dancers and a concert with Seo Linn!

Ní neart go cur le chéile

Ní thuigim: Irish language faces stark threat in its heartland

Aibreán 7, 2017

Just over a fifth of people living in Gaeltacht areas speak Irish on a daily basis

There has been an alarming drop in the number of Irish speakers in the country’s eight Gaeltacht areas in the past five years, according to official census figures, indicating that Irish is in danger of becoming extinct as a native language.

The latest official figures published by the Central Statistics Office also show the first decline in more than 80 years in the overall percentage of Irish speakers in the State.

The total number of people who said they were being able to speak Irish in April 2016 was 1,761,420, a slight drop since 2011 but, more significantly, the lowest percentage of Irish speakers since 1946.

The decline in Gaeltacht areas is starker. There has been a fall of an astonishing 11.2 per cent of daily Irish speakers since 2011. Only 21.4 per cent of a total population of 96,090 in the native speaking areas said they spoke Irish on a daily basis.

The gravest drop in the number of daily speakers in a Gaeltacht was in Mayo, home county of Taoiseach Enda Kenny. There was a drop of almost 25 per cent in daily Irish speakers in just five years, a calamitous fall for a tiny Gaeltacht.

This precipitous drop provoked criticism from the Opposition and language activist groups, which have been scathing of the Government’s approach to the language. Conradh na Gaeilge said the Government had refused to invest in the 20-year Strategy for the Irish Language over the past six years, rendering it completely ineffective.

However, the Minister of State for the Gaeltacht Seán Kyne defended the Government’s record on the strategy, saying it had invested in the strategy and also pointed out that it was only six years into its 20-year term.

Peadar Tóibín of Sinn Féin said the Government’s policy was in chaos.

Dr John Walsh of the Department of Irish in National University of Ireland, Galway, described the results as “worrying”.

“The results reveal falls in all of the significant figures: daily Irish speakers outside the education system, and ability of Irish and frequency of its use in the Gaeltacht. The dramatic fall in numbers of daily speakers in the Gaeltacht is particularly significant.”

He added: “The negative returns raise fundamental questions about government policy on the Irish language, in particularly the 20-year Strategy for the Irish Language, which set out highly unrealistic targets for increases in speakers.

“It would appear that that the language-planning process in the Gaeltacht and elsewhere is having little effect. This is perhaps unsurprising, given the very small state investment in it.”

Dr Walsh pointed to a less pessimistic outlook outside the Gaeltacht areas.

“As was the case in the 2011 census, about two-thirds of daily speakers outside the education system are located outside the Gaeltacht and, while this number has also fallen, the decline is much smaller [slightly more than 1 per cent].

“This indicates that the numbers speaking Irish daily outside the Gaeltacht, although small, are more stable than within the Gaeltacht,” he said.

Foinse: Irish Times

President marks foundation of State’s first Gaelscoil

Aibreán 7, 2017

Scoil Bhríde founder Luíse Ghabhánach Ní Dhufaigh first taught at Patrick Pearse’s Scoil Íde

 President Michael D Higgins joined 450 students and former pupils of Scoil Bhríde to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the country’s first Gaelscoil in Beechwood, Ranelagh on Thursday morning.

President Higgins placed a copy of a speech he delivered into a time capsule along with photographs and letters written by schoolchildren at the Gaelscoil.

The time capsule will be opened in 2067 when the oldest child currently in the school will be 62 years of age.

The school was founded by suffragist and nationalist Luíse Ghabhánach Ní Dhufaigh (also known as Louise Gavan Duffy) and Áine Nic Aodha with just a dozen students in 1917.

All subjects were taught through the medium of Irish.

Ní Dhufaigh, who was born and raised in Nice, first came to Ireland to attend the funeral of her father, Young Irelander Charles Gavan Duffy in 1903.

She returned some years later to study at UCD and met Patrick Pearse through Conradh na Gaeilge. She later taught at his school, Scoil Íde, in Teach Feadha Cuileann where she developed her own vision of education.

She was present in the GPO during Easter Week, 1916 and was a founding member of Cumann na mBan. She died in October 1969.

Originally housed in No. 70 St. Stephen’s Green, the school moved several times since its foundation and is currently located on Bóthar Feadha Cuileann in Ranelagh.

Foinse: Irish Times

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