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Irish-medium Early Years Education in the north of Ireland. Eibhlín Mhic Aoidh St Mary’s University College Belfast [email protected] During today’s presentation I hope to. outline the development of the Irish-medium sector in the north of Ireland;

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Irish medium early years education in the north of ireland

Irish-medium Early Years Education in the north of Ireland

Eibhlín Mhic Aoidh

St Mary’s University College Belfast

[email protected]

During today s presentation i hope to
During today’s presentation I hope to

  • outline the development of the Irish-medium sector in the north of Ireland;

  • explore successful strategies used by early years educators in promoting Irish language learning as part of the holistic development of young children;

  • highlight recent initiatives for the continuing professional development of immersion early years educators in the north of Ireland.

Key strategies
Key Strategies

Meaningful, contextually rich activities

Focus on listening, understanding and speaking

A thematic approach to early learning

Positive teacher-pupil relarionship

Modelled, shared and guided language activities

A challenge
A Challenge

Do strategies in use in monolingual settings

need to be adapted to the needs of

young language learners in bilingual settings?

Department of education 2008 review of irish medium education
Department of Education (2008) Review of Irish-medium Education

The needs of Irish-medium Educators should be taken into account in delivering common leadership training and support services in a

sectorally-sensitive way.

One case in point
One case in point Education

The role of the adult in early years Irish-medium settings

Hickey 2003
Hickey (2003) Education

Activities which encouraged optimum use of Irish language in early years settings

  • Games with rules

  • Singing together

  • Home corner activities

  • Stories

  • Nursery rhymes

  • Interest points

  • Guided group activities

Emerging issues
Emerging Issues Education

  • the need for research to inform practice;

  • the need for continuing professional development sensitive to the context of Irish-medium classrooms;

  • the need to support teachers’ continuing efforts to improve their own Irish language competences.

An irish medium model of continuing professional development
An Irish-medium Model of Continuing Professional Development Education

  • Addresses both pedagogical and linguistic needs

  • Reflects immersion education learning and teaching methodologies

  • Encourages informed reflection and sharing of good practice

  • Action Research

Research themes
Research Themes Education

Improving Writing in the target Language at Key Stage 2

Developing Phonological Awareness in the early years

Improving Spelling Strategies with Key Stage 1 Pupils

Independent Reading in Key Stage Two

An Evaluation of the Lift Off Programme in a P.3 Class

Composite Classes in an Irish-medium School

Supporting Special Educational Needs at Key Stage 3: innovative strategies to improve sight vocabulary.

Go Educationraibhmaithagaibh


Thank you for listening


References Education

Baker, C. (2006) Foundations of Bilingualism and Bilingual Education 4th Edition. Cleveland: Multilingual Matters.

CCEA (2005) Preschool Curricular Guidance

CCEA (2009) Northern Ireland Curriculum Primary (Irish-medium)

Department of Education (DE) (2008) Review of Irish-medium Education

References Education

Hickey, T. (2003) ‘Cad a mheallannGaeilge ó PhaistísaLuath-Thumoideachas’ in TaighdeagusTeagascIml. 3. ColáisteOllscoileNaomhMuire: BéalFeirste.

Knipe, D. Bunting, G. Ó Labhraí, J. NigUidhir, G. and Mhic Aoidh, E. (2004) The Professional Development of Teachers in Irish-medium Schools

Lundy, L. (2006) Mainstreaming Children’s Rights in, to and through Education in a Society Emerging from Conflict in International Journal of Children’s Rights 14:339-362.

Mac Corraidh (2006) Irish-medium Education in Belfast in De Brún, F.(ed.) Belfast and the Irish Language. Dublin: Four Courts Press.

Maguire, G. (1991) Our Own Language: An Irish Initiative.Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.

References Education

McKendry, E. (2005) Immersion Education. Belfast; Council for Irish-medium Education.

Ó Baoill, D. (2007) Origins of Irish-medium Education: the dynamic core of language revitalization in Northern Ireland in The International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism Vol. 10, No. 4, 410-427.

Ó Duibhir, P. (2006) Education and Continuing Professional Development for Teachers in Irish-medium and Gaeltacht

Peover, S. (2002) The Current State of Irish-medium Education in Northern Ireland in Kirk, J. and Ó Baoill, D. (eds.) Language Planning and Education: linguistic issues in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Scotland. Belfast; ClóOllscoilnaBanríona.

Uí Dhoibhlin, S. (2011) Pedagogical Approaches Which Enhance Early Years Irish Language Development: a case study. Masters Dissertation: St Mary’s University College, Belfast.