New methods of teaching Irish to be subject of NUI Galway conference

An education conference which will be held at NUI Galway later this month will look at an emerging method of teaching languages which is gaining popularity across Europe.

With 40 per cent of marks being allocated to the oral Irish examination in the Leaving Certificate from 2012 the event will be of specific interest to teachers of Irish at second-level.

The one-day conference which will take place on Saturday February 27 is organised by NUI Galway’s School of Education and Gaelscoileanna Teo.

It will focus on Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL ), a method for teaching subjects and language together. In recent years this has become the umbrella term for learning another subject, such as geography, through a language which is not the mother tongue of the learners. This method would be of particular interest to Irish teachers who could perhaps teach part of their second subject through Irish.

Conference organiser Sinéad Ní Ghuidhir of NUI Galway’s School of Education, says this method can have students speaking the language without they even being aware of it.

“CLIL is being used to great effect all over the EU and it has huge potential for Irish language, Irish teaching and for Irish schools. The challenges around teaching Irish which we face in Ireland every day are not something that should be seen as particular to this country alone. Our colleagues around Europe have much experience to share.”

The event will feature a case study by Olive Ní Chonghaile of the Mercy College, Tuam. She will describe her experience of putting CLIL into practice in a secondary school in Ireland.

Speakers in the area of CLIL and language acquisition at the event will include:

• María Jesús Frigols-Martin, Valencia, who will give the background to the growth and success of CLIL in Europe.

• Do Coyle, University of Aberdeen, who will discuss the issues related to training teachers in this method.

• Muiris Ó Laoire, IT Tralee, world renowned in the area of language and language acquisition, will speak on CLIL in the Irish context.

• Áine Furlong, IT Waterford, will show practical ways of creating materials and resources for the CLIL lesson.

• Yolanda Ruiz de Zarobe, University of the Basque Country, will discuss the CLIL experience with a minority language in the Basque Country.

• Carmel Mary Coonan, Universita Ca’Foscari di Venezia, Italy, will talk about CLIL in the classroom.

Ms Ní Ghuidhir says the conference is a opportunity to explore new ways of teaching Irish by incorporating the CLIL methods.

“We hope the conference will provide the opportunity for those involved in education to share with colleagues around the country and to invigorate teaching with new possibilities.”

The cost for the day, including lunch and refreshments, is €55. For further information and online booking log onto www.conference.ie or telephone (091 ) 492861 or (01 ) 8535191.

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