The Prospects and Possibilities of Broadening the use of the Irish language in an English-medium post-primary school: A Case Study

Flynn, Mark (2019) The Prospects and Possibilities of Broadening the use of the Irish language in an English-medium post-primary school: A Case Study. PhD thesis, University of Lincoln.

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The Prospects and Possibilities of Broadening the use of the Irish language in an English-medium post-primary school: A Case Study
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Abstract

The Irish language, classed as an endangered language, has been supported by successive Irish Government since the inception of the State in 1922. Yet, today, the high levels of support are not translated into daily usage and census data reveals a very low percentage admitting they use the language in their daily lives. This data is echoed in this study of Irish language knowledge and usage in a coeducational, English-medium, postprimary school in the West of Ireland. This single exploratory case study sought information from stakeholders about their attitudes and beliefs about the Irish language. Information was sought also about their perceptions of initiatives they envisaged would assist in broadening the use of Irish in school, as was their level of awareness of Governmental initiatives that support Irish in schools and in society.

While positive sentiments were expressed about the language there was less evidence of this sentiment being translated into action unless there was sufficient support and scaffolding available. The Irish langauge was valued as a weak marker of Irish identity rather than as a communicative tool due to English being spoken by the community. This removed the necessity to speak Irish. In this community Irish is rarely used in the home and it is used more often when on holidays or working abroad. Due to the lack of urgency to learn the language stakeholders in this community interviewees called for Irish learning to be entertaining and fun.

The apparent lack of ability to engage in more meaningful conversation was blamed on the Irish language syllabus, where there was a focus on literature and rote learning rather than on communicative skills. The Irish language was supported insofar as it was an opportunity to use Irish outside the classroom, but the support waned if extra work was involved. Participants in this study were unable to envisage how the proposed intervention would work. Evidently a lot of planning, headed by a committed team, is what was indicated to instil the promotion of the language.

Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Education
ID Code:44793
Deposited On:05 May 2021 10:33

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