Me no parlez any foreign languages very good
It will come as no surprise to many of us who have spent long afternoons
trying to stay awake in class while a teacher drones on in a language we
can't understand, that sometimes the way this country teaches its children
languages leaves a lot to be desired.
But, we were always told, it would be good for our business careers - those
of us who got one, that is.
So kudos to the Mater Dei Institute's Dr Kevin Williams who must rank as
the first educator to actually admit that spending five years being force-
fed a language has less than spectacular effects.
Williams said yesterday: "We should not be surprised at the lack of
positive outcomes from teaching a foreign language four or five times a
week to pupils in a classroom where the language receives no reinforcement
in the children's family or community."
So given that information, it should come as no surprise that, despite 14
years of compulsory Irish, only a tiny minority have anything more than a
rudimentary grasp of their native language.
After all, when at least half the population are quite prepared to look at
the likes of Sile Ni Seoige speaking Irish on TG4, surely it's
counterproductive to shovel Peig at pupils like some linguistic equivalent
of foie gras?
Ian O'Doherty email@example.com