A new project undertaken by NUI Galway student teachers could lead to the expansion of enrichment workshops to schools throughout Galway that would serve the needs of gifted pupils as Gaeilge.
It was the principal of Scoil Iognáid, Laoise Breathnach, who came up with the idea to start a project with NUI Galway student teachers providing a series of enrichment workshops, and after teaming up with Sinéad Ní Guidhir from the university’s School of Education the EXPLORE innovative project was born.
The project set out to challenge student teachers on the Dioplóma Gairmiúil san Oideachas in NUI Galway to design and deliver a series of resources, lessons, and workshops for a group of gifted pupils. Almost 12 months on and as a result of the great work of Daltaí Tréitheacha exceptional pupils can now avail of relevant courses and workshops as Gaeilge.
This is the first time NUI Galway student teachers have provided a series of enrichment workshops in a Gaelscoil in Galway city, serving the needs of gifted pupils in Irish. The workshops take place over a number of weeks covering subjects such as forensic science, code breaking, language acquisition, cultural studies, music and dance.
Not only have the workshops been well received but the student teachers themselves have benefited greatly from the experience. One student teacher described the EXPLORE project as being one of the best opportunities he had as a student at the university, while another said the whole experience taught her the importance of differentiating and addressing the needs of all pupils in the class.
According to Sinéad Ní Ghuidhir, the project was such a success that there are calls for it to become an integral part of the initial teacher education programme and that, with funding, it can be included on a core module on the Máistir Gairmiúil san Oideachas so that “all students will be able to benefit from the experience”.
The success of the EXPLORE project so far could also see further expansion, as the Máistir Gairmiúil san Oideachas programme is interested in expanding the scheme to more schools throughout Galway.