September 22nd, 2011: Press Release – Launch of Inter-changes: Irish Language Learning & Teaching in the US Research and Conference Report

PRESS RELEASE

Click to download an English or Irish version of the report.

GENUINE ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY FOR IRISH LANGUAGE EDUCATORS AND RESOURCE PROVIDERS IN THE USA

US IRISH LANGUAGE TUTORS WOULD VALUE MORE CONTACT WITH NATIVE SPEAKERS AND OTHER TEACHERS

Thursday, 22nd September – “A genuine economic opportunity has arisen for Irish language educators and publishers to create learning materials for Irish language learners and teachers in the US that incorporate a greater degree of contact with native or fluent speakers of Irish.  This is a very timely report as the Irish Government prepares for October’s Global Diaspora Forum,” said the Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs, Mr. Dinny McGinley T.D.

Speaking at the launch of Inter-changes: Irish Language Learning & Teaching in the US Research and Conference Report, commissioned by the Ireland–United States [Fulbright] Commission for Educational Exchange, Minister McGinley noted “The report also highlights a sense of isolation on the part of Irish language teachers in the US, something which could be addressed by the formation of a teachers’ association and sharing of resources.”

Minister McGinley said; “It is extremely heartening to see such a high level of interest in the US for learning the Irish language.  The report identifies 87 academic and non-academic institutions teaching Irish.

“Almost two-thirds of Irish language tutors in the US consider current teaching resources as only ‘fair, poor or very poor.’  An opportunity exists to create enhanced materials such as textbooks, grammar and pronunciation guides based on the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), multi-media and web-based support. Some form of teacher training or support would make teachers aware of the resources which already exist.”

“A further concern noted in the report is that there is currently no centralised curriculum or assessment system specifically for US citizens learning Irish. The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht are committed to working with the Ireland–United States [Fulbright] Commission for Educational Exchange, the Ireland Canada University Foundation and other relevant bodiesto implement the recommendations including teacher training opportunities and the development of a common framework for learning, teaching and assessing Irish in the US, Canada and elsewhere” Minister McGinley concluded.

Speaking at the launch, Ms Colleen Dube, Executive Director of the Fulbright Commission commented:

“We estimate there are up to 3,000 US citizens currently learning Irish; which is roughly half the number studying Irish at third level in Ireland.  The report and conference identified that the sense of isolation experienced by both Irish language learners and teachers is a significant disincentive and challenge to learning.

“72% would welcome structures and resources to connect learners with native speakers through online courses or even visiting the Gaeltacht.  Three quarters of tutors would be interested in joining an association for tutors of Irish in the United States where access to a fluent/native speaker would be a desirable form of support and this is something we are developing.

“Through our Fulbright Awards and other activities, we have sent 35 Irish Foreign Language Teaching Assistants (FLTAs) and five Irish Language Scholars to 12 universities across the US, given Fulbright awards to four US Students to study Irish in Ireland and made Irish language travel awards to 20 Americans to study Irish in the Gaeltacht for summer 2011.

“A real opportunity at a time of austerity and adversity exists for the Commission and Irish Government to create a cultural bridge to the US and internationally for learning and experiencing the Irish language.  We look forward to collaborating with the Department and the Irish language sector in creatively and cost-effectively building this bridge.”

ENDS/

Notes to Editor

About Inter-changes: Irish Language Learning & Teaching in the US

In November 2010, in anticipation of the official launch of the 20-Year Strategy for the Irish Language 2010–2030 and with the support of the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs, the Fulbright Commission initiated a research report and conference to inform the future development and delivery of Irish language learning and teaching to US learners.

The research was carried out by the National University of Ireland Maynooth’s Language Centre to identify and classify institutions teaching Irish in the US (academic and non-academic, e.g. Irish clubs and centres), provide a profile of the learner and tutor, list the most commonly used teaching resources and determine amenability to online assessment and levels of proficiency attained.

The Fulbright Commission and the University of Notre Dame, which has the only independent Department of Irish Language and Literature in the US and has annually hosted Irish language FLTAs and Scholars since 2006, collaborated on a conference devoted to Irish language teaching and learning in May 2011.

Applications are being accepted until 18th November 2011 for the 2012-2013 Fulbright Irish Language Teaching Assistantships and Scholar Awards.  Further information available at www.fulbright.ie.

PPREA SEISIÚINT

FÍORDHEIS EACNAMAÍOCH D’OIDEOIRÍ NA GAEILGE AGUS SOLÁTHRÓIRÍ ACMHAINNÍ

BA MHÓR AG TEAGASCÓIRÍ GAEILGE SAM NÍOS MÓ TEAGMHÁLA LE CAINTEOIRÍ DÚCHAIS AGUS TEAGASCÓIRÍ EILE.

Déardaoin 22 Meán Fómhair – “Tá fíordheis eacnamaíoch tagtha aníos d’oideoirí agus d’fhoilsitheoirí na Gaeilge chun ábhair fhoghlama a chruthú d’fhoghlaimeoirí agus do mhúinteoirí Gaeilge i SAM, a chuimsíonn níos mó teagmhála le cainteoirí dúchais nó le cainteoirí líofa Gaeilge. Is tuarascáil an-tráthúil í seo agus Rialtas na hÉireann ag ullmhú d’Fhóram Diaspóra Domhanda Dheireadh Fómhair” a deir an tAire Stáit do Ghnóthaí Gaeltachta, an tUasal Donnacha Mac Fhionghaile T.D.

Ag labhairt ag seoladh Idirmhalartuithe: Foghlaim & Teagasc na Gaeilge i SAM: Tuarascáil Taighde agus Chomhdhála, a choimisiúnaigh Coimisiún na hÉireann-Stát Aontaithe do Mhalartú Oideachasúil [Fulbright], nótáil an tAire Mac Fhionghaile “Aibhsíonn an tuarascáil seo chomh maith go mbraitheann múinteoirí Gaeilge i SAM go bhfuil siad ag obair ar an uaigneas, rud ar féidir díriú isteach air le cruthú chumann teagascóirí, agus acmhainní a roinnt”.

Deir an tAire Mac Fhionghaile; “Tá sé thar a bheith croíúil a leithéid d’ardleibhéal suime a fheiceáil i SAM d’fhoghlaim na Gaeilge”. Aithníonn an tuarascáil 87 institiúid acadúil agus neamhacadúil atá ag teagasc na Gaeilge.

Measann beagnach dhá thrian de theagascóirí Gaeilge i SAM nach bhfuil acmhainní teagaisc reatha ach ‘ceart go leor, neamhshásúil nó an-neamhshásúil’. Tá deis ann chun ábhair níos fearr ar nós téacsleabhair, treoracha gramadaí agus foghraíochta atá bunaithe ar an Aibítir Idirnáisiúnta Foghraíochta (IPA), tacaíocht ilmheán agus ríomhbhunaithe a chruthú. Chuirfeadh cineál éigin oiliúint nó tacaíocht mhúinteoirí teagascóirí ar an eolas faoi na hacmhainní atá ann cheana”.

“Luadh imní eile sa tuarascáil nach bhfuil aon churaclam lárnaithe nó córas measúnaithe ann faoi láthair atá dírithe go sonrach ar shaoránaigh SAM atá ag foghlaim na Gaeilge. Tá an Roinn Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta tiomanta chun oibre le Coimisiún na hÉireann-Stát Aontaithe do Mhalartú Oideachasúil [Fulbright], Fondúireacht Ollscoil Éireann Cheanada, agus páirtithe cuí eile, chun moltaí a chur i bhfeidhm ina n-áirítear deiseanna d’oiliúint teagascóirí agus forbairt chreat chomónta chun an Ghaeilge a fhoghlaim, a theagasc agus a mheasúnú i SAM, i gCeanada agus in áiteanna eile”, a deir an tAire Mac Fhionghaile.

Ag labhairt di ag an seoladh, deir Stiúrthóir Feidhmiúcháin Choimisiún Fulbright, an tUasal Colleen Dube:

“Measaimid go bhfuil suas le 3,000 saoránach Meiriceánach ag foghlaim Gaeilge faoi láthair: timpeall leath den uimhir atá ag déanamh staidéir ar an nGaeilge ar an tríú leibhéal in Éirinn. D’aithin an tuarascáil agus an chomhdháil go bhfuil an t-uaigneas atá á mhothú ag foghlaimeoirí agus teagascóirí araon ina dhídhreasú agus ina dhúshlán suntasach don fhoghlaim.

“D’fháilteodh 72% roimh struchtúir agus acmhainní chun foghlaimeoirí a nascadh le cainteoirí dúchais trí chúrsaí ar-líne nó fiú cuairt a thabhairt ar an nGaeltacht. Bheadh suim ag trí cheathrú de na teagascóirí a bheith páirteach i gcumann do theagascóirí Gaeilge i SAM áit a mbeadh rochtain ar chainteoir(í) dúchais/líofa ina tacaíocht inmhianaithe, agus is rud é seo a bhfuilimid á fhorbairt.

Trí Dhámhachtainí Fulbright agus trí ghníomhaíochtaí eile, chuireamar 35 Cúntóir Múinteoireachta Teangacha Eachtrannacha (FLTAnna) agus cúigear Scoláirí Gaeilge chuig 12 ollscoil ar fud SAM, thugamar Dámhachtainí Fulbright do cheathrar Scoláirí as SAM chun staidéar a dhéanamh ar an nGaeilge in Éirinn agus thugamar dámhachtainí taistil Ghaeilge do scór Meiriceánach chun staidéar a dhéanamh ar an nGaeilge sa Ghaeltacht don samhradh i 2011.

Tá fíordheis ann i dtráth déine agus angair don Choimisiún agus Rialtas na hÉireann chun droichead cultúrtha a thógáil le SAM agus go hidirnáisiúnta d’fhoghlaim agus d’éispéiris na Gaeilge. Tá súil againn comhoibriú leis an Roinn agus le hearnáil na Gaeilge i dtógáil chruthaitheach agus chost-éifeachtúil an droichid seo”.

CRÍOCH/

Nótaí don Eagarthóir

Faoi Idirmhalartuithe: Foghlaim & Teagasc na Gaeilge i SAM

I mí na Samhna 2010, le réamhghábháil sheoladh oifigiúil Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge 2010-2030, agus le tacaíocht ón Roinn Gnóthaí Pobail, Comhionannais agus Gaeltachta, chuir Coimisiún Fulbright tús le tuarascáil taighde agus comhdháil chun foghlaimeoirí SAM a chur ar an eolas faoi fhorbairt agus faoi sheachadadh sa todhchaí ar fhoghlaim agus ar theagasc na Gaeilge.

Rinne Ionad na dTeangacha, Ollscoil na hÉireann Má Nuad an taighde chun institiúidí a theagascann Gaeilge i SAM (acadúil agus neamhacadúil, m.sh. clubanna agus ionaid Ghaelacha) a aithint agus a rangú, chun próifíl den fhoghlaimeoir agus den teagascóir a chur ar fáil, na hacmhainní is coitianta a bhaintear úsáid astu a liostú agus chun inghlacacht an mheasúnú ar-líne agus leibhéil oilteachta a baineadh amach a dhearbhú.

Tá Coimisiún Fulbright agus Ollscoil Notre Dame, a bhfuil an t-aon Roinn Gaeilge agus Litríochta neamhspleách i SAM aici, mar óstach ar bhonn bliantúil ar FLTAnna agus Scoláirí ó 2006, agus tá siad tar éis comhoibriú a dhéanamh ar chomhdháil a bhí bainteach le teagasc agus le foghlaim na Gaeilge i mBealtaine 2011.

Tá iarratais á nglacadh go dtí 18 Samhain 2011 do Chúntóireachtaí Múinteoireachta i nGaeilge agus Dámhachtainí Scoláire Fulbright 2012-2013. Tá tuilleadh eolais ar fáil ag www.fulbright.ie.