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Site aims to help improve Irish

February 2, 2010

An interactive website to improve teaching and learning of spoken Irish in post-primary schools was launched today. Abair Leat! is a virtual online language laboratory in which students can improve their Irish by interacting over the internet with native Irish speakers.

Students can use the website to listen to native Irish speakers, record their own material in Irish and undertake self-correcting exercises. Teachers can assess students’ work on the website and give spoken feedback online or written feedback by email. Oral skills are set to become still more important in the Leaving Cert exam. From 2012, the percentage of marks for the oral component of Leaving Cert Irish will increase from 25 to 40 per cent.

The pilot phase of Abair Leat!, which will be rolled out in 14 post-primary schools initially, is aimed at supporting the oral syllabus in first year of post primary school. Launching the site, Minister for Education Batt O’Keeffe said its mix of audio-visual material, vocabulary and grammar lessons, and self-correcting exercises makes it an innovative, flexible and modern online tool to improve learning and teaching in Irish.

The launch was also attended by the comedian Des Bishop, whose documentary In The Name Of The Fada  recalled his experience learning Irish in the Connemara Gaeltacht. He said the site was an important step in the ongoing efforts to make the learning and teaching of Irish more enjoyable and interactive by focusing on the primacy of the spoken word.

The Irish Times – Seán Flynn
2 Feabhra 2010