Fostering Excellence in Irish-medium Education at GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. Annual Conference
November 22, 2009
GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. welcomed Assistant Chief Inspector with the Department of Education and Science, Éamonn Murtagh, who opened this year’s annual education conference.
Speaking this morning, Murtagh said “The Department of Education and Science supports the principle aim of the all-island policy on immersion education which will be officially launched this evening”.
President of GAELSCOILEANNA TEO., Mícheál Ó Broin welcomed Murtagh’s statement along with the recommendation that all the models of immersion education listed in the policy be investigated with a view to implementaion.
In referring to the current economic climate, Ó Broin stated,”We understand very well the appauling state of our economy and the subsequent pressure on the Department of Education and Science, but we ask of the Department and of this Government to develop a mechanism that will safeguard our schools against future threats”. Ó Broin expressed the strong support of the sector and of the schools for COGG and the vital work undertaken by COGG. He demanded accordingly that recommendations made by Mc Carthy are not implemented, but instead that the appropriate resources and supports are made available for the development of COGG.
The Conference keynote address, delivered by Dr. Muiris Ó Laoire, focused on the importance of developing language awareness in the Irish-medium classroom. Ó Laoire illustrated how language awareness fosters curiosity in learners, which in turn fosters a desire to learn and consequently grammatical accuracy is heightened. He referred to recent research findings which confirm that levels of language awareness are higher in Irish-medium schools than in English-medium schools.
GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. launched the all-island Policy on immersion education today which will become a very useful resource for schools in developing their school policies. “We are delighted to have reached this historical point where we are celebrating the development of an all-island policy on immersion education and we are confident that it will act as an impetus for increased collaboration on the development of the Irish-medium education sector between organisations on an all-island basis, ” said Bláthnaid ní Ghréacháin, Chief Executive of the organisation.
GAELSCOILEANNA TEO.’s Annual Conference was hosted in Kilkenny City where the strong representation of Irish-medium schools and the Irish-speaking community added greatly to the success of the conference.
GAELSCOILEANNA TEO. is the national co-ordinating body for schools teaching through the medium of Irish. It helps parents and local groups to set up new schools and supports the established all-Irish schools.