New Methods of Teaching Irish to be Subject of Conference at NUI Galway

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

An education conference at NUI Galway on Saturday, 27 February, will look at an emerging method of teaching languages which is gaining popularity across Europe. With 40% of marks being allocated to the oral in the Leaving Cert Irish exam from 2012, the conference will be of specific interest to teachers of Irish at second-level. The one-day conference is organised by NUI Galway's School of Education and Gaelscoileanna Teo. The conference will focus on Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), a method for teaching subjects and language together. In recent years, CLIL 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. According to conference organiser Sinéad Ní Ghuidhir of NUI Galway's School of Education: "This method can have students speaking the language without them 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 conference will feature a case study by Olive Ní Chonghaile of the Mercy College, Tuam, who will describe her own experience of putting CLIL into practice in a secondary school in Ireland. Speakers in the area of CLIL and language acquisition at the event include:
  • María Jesús Frigols-Martin, Valencia, will give the background to the growth and success of CLIL in Europe.
  • Do Coyle, University of Aberdeen, 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.
NUI Galway's Sinéad Ní Ghuidhir added: "This is a chance to explore new ways of teaching Irish by incorporating the CLIL methods – which are known to work in other European countries. 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 more information and online booking, see www.conference.ie or call phone 091 492861 / 01 8535191.
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