Forcing students to learn Irish has failed, says Hayes

USER1234

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PAMELA DUNCAN

FORCING STUDENTS to learn Irish is not working and is driving young people away from the language, according to the Fine Gael spokesman on education and science Brian Hayes.

The 1,326 Leaving Cert students who are exempt from sitting Irish at the Leaving Cert but who were studying other languages, highlighted the major problems with the teaching of the Irish language, he said yesterday.

“It must be acknowledged that compulsion, as the political engine to revive the Irish language, has failed,” Mr Hayes added. “Forcing students to learn Irish is not working, and is actually driving many young people away from any real engagement with this beautiful language.

“The fact that so many students are not taking Irish, yet can study other modern languages, has once again shone a light on the problems with teaching our national language.”

He said the problems with the language began “well before” Junior Cert level and he accused successive Fianna Fáil governments of ignoring the problems affecting the national language.

“We need a radically different approach to the Irish language, in both our education system and in society more generally.

“At primary level, the curriculum needs to be changed with a greater focus on the spoken word and with teachers given greater support.”

However, he added that the subject should also be overhauled at second level.

“Surely it is time to acknowledge that, after students have completed the Junior Certificate, they should be offered the choice to take Irish to Leaving Certificate level.

“Of course, every student would have a guaranteed right to study Irish until the Leaving Certificate in all post-primary schools,” he said, adding that proper reform of the curriculum would result in the majority of young people choosing to learn Irish.

Irish needed to be taught in such a way that makes it more accessible and attractive for students to take it on voluntarily as a subject. “That is the heart of the matter,” he said.
Irish times 15 April - Forcing students to learn Irish has failed, says Hayes

& Letters Page (Same Day)

adam, – It has become painfully clear that many students will go to great lengths to avoid learning the Irish language (“Irish-Exempt students study other languages”, April 13th).

As somebody who achieved a higher level A1 in Irish in the 2003 Leaving Certificate, and would consider myself fluent in the language, I am torn. While I enjoyed studying Irish, I acknowledge fully that the benefits of learning it for so many years, and in such depth, end as soon as one completes secondary schooling at the age of 18. As difficult as it may be for many to digest at home, Irish is, to all intents and purposes, a dead language.

Perhaps it is time that the Department of Education reclassified Irish as an “optional” language. Forcing students into learning Irish as a mandatory subject from a young age serves no purpose. It does not keep the language alive, nor does it foster a love of it among our young people.

I work in the international arena in the United States, and in my line of work I would be a more valuable asset were I capable of speaking Mandarin Chinese, Russian or one of the Middle Eastern tongues (Persian, Arabic, etc) to the same level as I can speak Irish. While I have recently turned my hand to the intensive study of two new languages, the task of mastering a new language with consummate fluency becomes much more difficult as one gets older.

The Department of Education should move with the times, stop forcing Irish on our school students, and begin offering more internationally progressive languages from a younger age in schools around the country. – Yours, etc,

DAVID McDONNELL,

Mintwood Place NW,

Washington, DC, US.
The Irish Times - Letters
 


stewiegriffin

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Oh no it hasnt , you west brit! (little dribble of rage drips down) . Why, our language is fabulous and whats more , our teachers are all simply brilliant . How dare you . How very dare you !
 

USER1234

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Oh no it hasnt , you west brit! (little dribble of rage drips down) . Why, our language is fabulous and whats more , our teachers are all simply brilliant . How dare you . How very dare you !
im expecting that to come (but i must admit i wasn't expecting you to be the first)!!!!

LOL
 

Panopticon

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On the narrow point, the letter-writer is incorrect to advocate the teaching of Mandarin. It's an incredibly difficult language and as an English speaker one should have no problems in conversing in English with Chinese people who do business internationally. Where we need more language skills is the field of EU languages like French and German, where the expectation is that even international business will be conducted in their language, with English as a second choice on their part.

On the broader point, yes it is obvious that children and teachers are wasting a huge amount of their lives on fruitless activity in the Irish education system. Not only Irish, but also Religion. A huge waste of time which goes a long way to explaining our poor international performance on education metrics.

Do you think the Koreans teach their kids about complicated tenses in a dead language and Wonder and Awe in God's Presence for two hours a day? I doubt it.
 

PrinceMax

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They should get some sense. This idiotic policy won't win them any votes. People have more important things to worry about than whether or not kids are forced to learn Irish. Last time they mentioned this, there proved to be very little support. If 15 year olds could vote then this would be a real vote getter.
 

kerdasi amaq

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It's their method of teaching that's failed. They should teach children to say the words out loud, first, and then work out what to with them afterwards.

Emigration is what's destroying Irish.
 

Congalltee

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Will Hayes allow students opt out of English and maths as well?

These 1300 students should simply fail the Leaving Cert if they are unable to pass a basic standard in our national language and EU working language. Are they, their parents or their teachers really that stupid that they cannot pass lower level Irish?
 

USER1234

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Will Hayes allow students opt out of English and maths as well?
I doubt it, as their useful life skills!!


These 1300 students should simply fail the Leaving Cert if they are unable to pass a basic standard in our national language and EU working language. Are they, their parents or their teachers really that stupid that they cannot pass lower level Irish?
Again the argument would be that while Irish may technically be a national language, it has no real role in their lives as English is our defacto first language and they object to be force feed the Irsh language!!!!

Also the standard of Irish teaching here is appallingly bad!!!
 
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Cael

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That man hayes speaks the truth!
The trouble with Hayes, like the rest of the Fine Gael party, is that while they can speak English - they have nothing to say thats worth hearing in any language.
 

Cael

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Not really Cael!!!

You only have to look at the general standard of writing on this site to see that the teaching of English is a general failure.
 

USER1234

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You only have to look at the general standard of writing on this site to see that the teaching of English is a general failure.
Don't know if i agree with you there Cael (although i do sometimes wonder at the logic that some users use!!!)
 

Cael

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Of course, nobody can deny that the teaching of Irish is absolute disaster and and almost complete failure. But the solution is to train teachers properly. True to form, it was the Fine Gael west brit sleeveens who closed the coláistí ullmhúcháin in the 1960s. A knife in the back for Irish language teaching. And then, just like the Blueshirts and true to form, when they have done the assassination, they wonder out loud why the victim is dying.
 

Supermanpolitician

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Of course, nobody can deny that the teaching of Irish is absolute disaster and and almost complete failure. But the solution is to train teachers properly. True to form, it was the Fine Gael west brit sleeveens who closed the coláistí ullmhúcháin in the 1960s. A knife in the back for Irish language teaching. And then, just like the Blueshirts and true to form, when they have done the assassination, they wonder out loud why the victim is dying.
It's this sanctimonious bullsh*t from the Gaelgeor brigade that put so many people off Irish.

You even managed to call us West Brits - surprise surprise!

Irish is important but forcing everybody to learn it is just crazy.
 

Cael

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Don't know if i agree with you there Cael (although i do sometimes wonder at the logic that some users use!!!)
The language of Shakespeare as spoken in leinster house:

[nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bti_k2vlQaE"]YouTube- Funny Fighting Irish Pigs[/nomedia]
 

Cael

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Irish is important but forcing everybody to learn it is just crazy.
You dont have to learn it at all. You can just go off to your spiritual homeland in Dear Old Blighty, for example.
 


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