Should the Irish Language be compulsory in schools?

JDLK

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(Topic shamelessly lifted from Adrian Kennedy phone show, I only caught the last few mins of what sounded like an interesting debate though)

Should Irish be a compulsory or optional subject in school(like French or German)? Bearing in mind that school prepares us for the big bad world should people who dont see a place in their life for Gaeilge be forced to learn it?
 


Alliance

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We've been down this road a billion times already. Thats only in the last year.

No it shouldn't be compulsory after primary.
 

pfkf1

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My own opinion is that it should be compulsory up until senior cycle, that way if it is thought properly people will feel confident enough in the language, to take it on for the leaving in quite strong numbers.
 

JDLK

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pfkf1 said:
My own opinion is that it should be compulsory up until senior cycle, that way if it is thought properly people will feel confident enough in the language, to take it on for the leaving in quite strong numbers.
Is the problem with the language itself or the way they teach it though? I mean the average Irish person spends about 12 years of their life learning it and can only string together a few sentences-must be something wrong there?
 

Ard-Taoiseach

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I like it and think that it is a valuable contributor to a student's comprehensive education. Along with English and German/French/etc. it forms a virtuous Trinity of language subjects which increase a student;s mental flexibility and dexterity.

Irish can be fun. I like the sound of the language and it's no bad thing it's compulsory.

Look what happened in the UK. They made foreign languages optional a few years ago and students taking those subjects have plunged. Something similar may occur here to the detriment of the overall eductaion received by a student.

I do think the syllabus needs and overhaul with a radical re-think of how it is taught and framed for students. Grammar and language acquisition aren't advocated enough.
 

Riadach

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JDLK said:
pfkf1 said:
My own opinion is that it should be compulsory up until senior cycle, that way if it is thought properly people will feel confident enough in the language, to take it on for the leaving in quite strong numbers.
Is the problem with the language itself or the way they teach it though? I mean the average Irish person spends about 12 years of their life learning it and can only string together a few sentences-must be something wrong there?
Not to mention the average Irish person spends 6 years learning French or German, yet compared with second language take up in Europe, end up with a pathetic command said languages.
 

pfkf1

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Whenever I am asked that question, I always tell people, that I spent 14 years of my life learning Irish, and I can hardly string a sentence together in it, however I only studied French (which is a much more difficult language) for 6 years and I would be quite confident at speaking French in France.

My own belief is the problem with Irish in Schools is that it is taught through Irish, whereas French from 1st year to 3rd year is mainly Through English, so you know what most of it means.

So I believe it is the way it is taught, not the language, I mean it has the fewest irregular verbs out of any language as far as I'm aware, so it should be a simple enough language to teach, but I don't believe it is.
 

Alliance

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The main problem is: no one cares. Irish is of no use to them. Some may spout all the trappings of being nationalists (small "n") and profess to have "a love of their language", but really they're just a bunch of people trying to live the most comfortable life as possible. They're not interested in having a dead language forced down their throats, they're interested in iPods and hoildays to Spain. So even though some may translate their auntie dropping the odd Irish word when she feels like it as people taking interest, it really doesn't mean Irish is ever going to be more than what it is: a token.
 

Riadach

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pfkf1 said:
Whenever I am asked that question, I always tell people, that I spent 14 years of my life learning Irish, and I can hardly string a sentence together in it, however I only studied French (which is a much more difficult language) for 6 years and I would be quite confident at speaking French in France.

My own belief is the problem with Irish in Schools is that it is taught through Irish, whereas French from 1st year to 3rd year is mainly Through English, so you know what most of it means.

So I believe it is the way it is taught, not the language, I mean it has the fewest irregular verbs out of any language as far as I'm aware, so it should be a simple enough language to teach, but I don't believe it is.
Which do you think is considered international best practice?
 

pfkf1

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Well I'm not sure which is considered best international practice I'm speaking from a personnel experience, so I would guess the way I and most other people are taught European languages, is international best practice.
 

Riadach

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pfkf1 said:
Well I'm sure which is considered best international practice I'm speaking from a personnel experience, so I would guess the way I and most other people are taught European languages, is international best practice.
It's not. International best practice emphasises instruction through the target language where practical.
 

JDLK

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Alliance said:
The main problem is: no one cares. Irish is of no use to them. Some may spout all the trappings of being nationalists (small "n") and profess to have "a love of their language", but really they're just a bunch of people trying to live the most comfortable life as possible. They're not interested in having a dead language forced down their throats, they're interested in iPods and hoildays to Spain. So even though some may translate their auntie dropping the odd Irish word when she feels like it as people taking interest, it really doesn't mean Irish is ever going to be more than what it is: a token.
I have to agree, the lack of interest is a huge factor but does that stem from it not being a practical asset or from resentment attained by by having it forced upon us.

From my point of view I always hated it in school, but at the same time Ive heard of the resurgance of it amongst kids by the modern trend of sending kids to "Irish" schools- you know the ones I mean
 

pfkf1

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Well then I like most people in Ireland aren't suited to international best practice
 

Riadach

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pfkf1 said:
Well then I like most people in Ireland are suited to international best practice
Then why complain about the language being taught through the target language?
 

NotDevsSon

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no.
 

pfkf1

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Riadach said:
pfkf1 said:
Well then I like most people in Ireland are suited to international best practice
Then why complain about the language being taught through the target language?
Sorry just edited my post, it was meant to read, aren't. apologies
 

Evil Eco-Fascist

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JDLK said:
(Topic shamelessly lifted from Adrian Kennedy phone show, I only caught the last few mins of what sounded like an interesting debate though)
I can only imagine the intellectual and though-provoking contributions made on the subject by those involved.

"Oirish is f*ckin' shi'e!"

Everytime you listen to Adrian Kennedy, God kills a kitten. (And you kill more of your braincells than a litre of vodka downed in one).
 

Alliance

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JDLK said:
I have to agree, the lack of interest is a huge factor but does that stem from it not being a practical asset or from resentment attained by by having it forced upon us.

From my point of view I always hated it in school, but at the same time Ive heard of the resurgance of it amongst kids by the modern trend of sending kids to "Irish" schools- you know the ones I mean
I know a lot of people are now sending their kids to Irish schools thesedays. Seems to be the "new thing", however you have to ask the question: what good does it do? They leave school and then what? We're not going to suddenly turn around and have Irish at work. Kids aren't going to speak Irish to their mates on a saturday night.

You don't learn Irish in school, you reguritate some nonsensical rhyme that you learnt off after repeating it 200000 times. If someone wants to send their child to learn Irish, than thats fine with me. I don't mind paying my taxes for them to do so. Likewise though I reserve the right for my child NOT to learn Irish. Prehaps if Irish wasn't put up there as some kind of Irish holy grail which you need to be a good Irishman, then people would feel less coerced and more enthuastic. After all, enthuasism is what you need to learn a langauge above all else.
 

Riadach

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pfkf1 said:
Riadach said:
pfkf1 said:
Well then I like most people in Ireland are suited to international best practice
Then why complain about the language being taught through the target language?
Sorry just edited my post, it was meant to read, aren't. apologies

One cannot then criticise it on how it is taught. However, sometimes I wonder if the communicative syllabus is suited to Irish at all. It emphasises avoidance of grammatical issues, which may be ok for languages so syntactically and grammatically similar to English as French or German, but I think grammatical awareness is more essential to Irish. The problem, I sometimes think, is that we are worried too much about adhering to how other languages are taught, and presuming that is the best fashion in which to teach Irish.

More research on the issue is desperately required, and if the Department was serious in it's bilingual aspirations, it would conduct some.
 


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