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The Daltaí Boards » Archive: 2005- » 2005 (January-February) » Archive through January 29, 2005 » 5th and 6th year syllabus in Irish secondary schools « Previous Next »

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(Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 81.98.88.109
Posted on Saturday, December 25, 2004 - 11:03 am:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

I'm a student in 6th year in Dublin. Myself and a few of my friends were arguing about whether the Irish syllabus for the Leaving Cert should be changed. I'd appreciate a more experienced and wiser insight from this forum's contributors.

First of all, the standard in our higher-level class is dismal. There are 20 students doing higher level and 60 doing ordinary level in our school. Out of the higher level class there would be maybe four people who can expect to go beyond a grade C.

For those of you who are not familiar with the syllabus, here it is:
There are two papers as well as an oral and an aural exam.
Paper One:
-An essay to be approximately 900 words
-Two comprehensions

Paper Two:
-An Irish drama, with most doing "An Triail" le Máire Ní Ghráda

-A story - Students must be familiar with five stories(Clann Lir, Amuigh Liom Féin, Gafa, An Lasair Choille, Fiosracht Mhná)

-Two poems - There are thirteen poems that must be known including Mí an Mheithimh le Máirtín Ó Direáin agus Fiacha an tSolais le Cathal Ó Searcaigh.

-Stair na Gaeilge - Material on the history of the language must be known.

The gramatical and fluency levels in the class are such that only a few people would be able to write a three A4 page essay. In our class we learn off essays on various topics for the Leaving Cert and hope they will appear on the paper. Our teacher advises the class to learn off by heart notes on the poems and stories as most would not be able to reproduce the notes in their own words.

There are time constraints. All the poems and stories take up a large and disproportionate(about 60%) amount of class time and leave little time for grammar and vocabulary improvement.

Here is the argument. Myself, and most of the class, argue that considering how poor the level of Irish is, that paper two should be taken off the course(or dramatically reduced) and more emphasis should be placed on learning the mechanics of the language.
There is this one person, a fluent speaker, who argues that it should be kept on the course regardless because it gives culture to the language.

In an ideal world, we would all come into 5th year having a good grasp of the language but there are evidently serious failings in the junior cycle and primary school because most don't.

I've rambled big time I realise. I'd appreciate your thoughts on the matter. Should more emphasis be placed on the mechanics and vocabulary of the language?

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Antaine
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Username: Antaine

Post Number: 131
Registered: 10-2004


Posted on Saturday, December 25, 2004 - 01:34 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

as a teacher in the US...the idea of taking things out of the curriculum in order to meet current levels of understanding brought on by substandard education leading up to the level in question.

This is always a mistake. The paper should be left on, the lower levels revamped to better prepare students for it, and current students of higher levels should have writing workshops added to the syllabus in order to prepare you for the paper.

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An_mídheach_mealltach
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Username: An_mídheach_mealltach

Post Number: 9
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Sunday, December 26, 2004 - 08:56 am:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

I'm very glad to see that you care. Many don't. They just condemn it as boring or a waste of time and money. I agree with you completely. You should be taught to speak and understand the language, not be taught to learn things off by heart that you may not even understand.
But from my own experience of doing Irish in college, many of the teachers who go out to teach Irish aren't even competent in it themselves, never mind the poor souls that get taught by them.

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(Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 12.75.202.99
Posted on Sunday, December 26, 2004 - 04:11 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

There should be more emphasis on comhra that is used in every day living (ability to discuss elections, order building materials for a home, do banking} so that it is a truly usable language. History and poetry shouldn't be dropped butinstead of learning off set pieces perhaps class discussions of favorite poems of the students or short stories they have read would encourage fluency which is the only true measure of linguistic ability.

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Tomás (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 198.22.236.230
Posted on Monday, December 27, 2004 - 04:01 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

I agree that there is a huge problem with the ability of many teachers, charged with teaching the language, to speak the language well. There also is a problem with the curriculum. There's a problem inherent in making the school system the main vehicle for revival of the language. It becomes a chore for 95% of the students. I'm not sure what the solution is, but here are a few humble thoughts:
The goals of the curriculum should be to 1.) develop fluency of speech; 2.) develop fluency in reading and writing and 3.) keep it fun and interesting for God's sake!
If Ireland were serious about reviving Irish, they would have set up academies in the existing Gaeltachtai/ to train cadres of teachers in all manner of subjects and then mandated education through the medium of Irish. You can imagine the reaction that approach would have engendered.
Perhaps the next best thing would be to take a two track approach. Keep Irish mandatory, but after primary school, permit students to choose whether they want to take it for a grade (which would bring them extra credit) or pass/fail. They could change their choice from year to year. You wouldn't be locked in. Make the focus of the pass/fail curriculum fluency in conversation. The graded curriculum would emphasize written and reading fluency a bit more. I bet this approach would turn out more and better speakers of Irish in the long run. The most fluent non-native speakers I know all say that they had teachers who emphasized conversation and kept it fun and interesting. If nothing else, at least this approach would stem the irrational hatred that it draws from some quarters of former students.

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(Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 168.12.253.66
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 12:05 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

In this high tech world that daily requires decreasing levels of skill in any language (an attempt to converse with my teenage children is viewed as an invasive act on my part) it is with sadness that I read such discussions as the foregoing.

I would love to be fluent in Irish. I love the sound and the feel of it. I even love to converse with those whose English is colored by its influence. But, sadly, and perhaps hopelessly, there's no community of Irish speakers within 3000 miles of me, and the occasionally encountered, lone speaker seems bound and determined to conceal his knowledge from the rest of the world. Surely I will never learn a language no one ever speaks. How many fluent speakers of Latin exist outside the Vatican?

As for this forum: I believe it is the best of its genre I've seen anywhere. But too often it serves to emphasize my isolation rather than diminish it.

And to the Irish citizens who resent being taught the language in school: count your blessings.

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(Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 12.75.240.62
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 02:06 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

Most of us in the US who are fairly fluent in Irish do not have a community of Irish speakers near us. We attend classes where there may be 15 others in the class (or maybe only 3) and attend immersion weekends when possible but in our daily lives we do not run into other speakers.It takes time but bit by bit it gets easier with practice and study.

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Liam Ó Briain (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 194.125.167.49
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 02:55 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

Competency in speaking the language is surely the only logical aim of the Irish course and I would prefer for Irish classes to be taught in Irish only at higher level and maybe in every Galltacht second level school an Irish language stream as a choice for students where most subjects would be taught in Irish. This has happened in Clonakilty Community college, Coláiste na Sceilge Cahersiveen and Coláiste Iognáid in Galway city. If Ireland were serious about reviving Irish then all primary schools would be Gaelscoils with English introduced at about age seven like in Wales.

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Antaine
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Username: Antaine

Post Number: 133
Registered: 10-2004


Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 04:08 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

or not at all...maybe only in british/american/irish lit classes where the original texts are in english

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Cailindoll
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Username: Cailindoll

Post Number: 3
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Saturday, January 01, 2005 - 12:36 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

You can make a community of Irish speakers, wherever you are. The internet IS an community, for one. If you think back of the Irish speakers from the Gaeltachts who were forced to leave their homes, and in leaving, to leave their language behind to concentrate on things more important like hunger and survival in new cities and worlds -- well, I don't know, I just think it makes all of our polite grumblings about how difficult things are seem so small in comparison, doesn't it? The challenge of creating an Irish speaking environment will build a community for you no matter where you are, no matter what dialect you crave, no matter how many miles removed from the wishing well of pure Irish you may be. It doesn't matter how ephemeral your community is- an Ghaeltacht so-gluaiste that exists for just the weekend - build it, wherever you are, build it, post it on the event list here, build it and people will come. Build it and then do one every year, do one twice a year, just do it and don't let anyone say you can't. Look at Ethel -- She rules! I double-dog-dare you all!

(Em, 'sé sin mo dhá phinginse -- all my resolutions fós in tact agus mo chuid brain cells go léir as ord agus ag snámh le champagne agus fireworks i mo chloigeannse ó aréir: new year's enthusiasm brimming over. Tá mise 'Ag tnúth ag dúil ag súil' pé scéal é le fháil amach -- what wonderful brave new words will this bliain úr bring us??

: )

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JP (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 159.134.207.251
Posted on Saturday, January 01, 2005 - 05:59 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

irish is taught abysmally up to Leaving Cert by most teachers. I was very fortunate to have very good primary school teachers and very good secondary school teachers up to Leaving Cert. Too many of my friends complain that they did little at primary level (one says they did it 1/2 hour a week, no way is that good enough). Our class was extremely fortunate to get a native speaker for a Junior Cert teacher who was very enthusiastic and inspirational. We always talked in irish in class about normal things and i love that. But now, this new "revised" course that they have us on! It's terrible. OK, i can understand why we delve deep into the mechanics of a poem to find out why the poet wrote it in english. yet this is not viable in irish when most of the higher level class can't actually understand the words for these mechanisms. I couldn't count the amount of times someone still gets confused with "uaim" and "codarsnacht" and the effective use of "comhartha uaillbhreasa" when they really should be learning to use the language to communicate with others. I do talk irish outside of class, yet most of my friends haven't a clue what i'm on about. There is one fluent guy in the school in the year above me, yet he says he'll not do well because he's not so hot on explaining poetry and prose. Yet i have fantastic conversations with him in irish. It's not right that someone who has earned a Fáinne óir like him cannot get better than a "C" in a language he is fluent in.
Grammar is glossed over far too briefly. No school textbook mentions the fact that there are different genders of nouns, let alone how to deal with them. No wonder people feel frustrated about the fact they lose marks for making a mistake they didn't know existed to make. How did they know "an gloine" needed to be lenited? My fluent friend stared blankly back at me with the mention of the declensions of nouns and the gender issue. Had never heard of any of it before. It's not right and trying to do an over-demanding leaving cert is made alot worse by a shaky foundation laid by junior cert. Thank goodness for the inspiration of Mrs. Mulligan, or i wouldn't be able to go on trying at it.

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(Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 81.98.88.109
Posted on Saturday, January 01, 2005 - 07:11 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

thanks for the replies. JP, I hear you on the whole grammar stuff. The book Fiuntas 1 is quite simply a piece of crap grammar-wise. We've done about two weeks of grammar and that's all. Lucky enough I had a good enough primary school background but in secondary I've had a string of crap teachers and none for the whole of first year.

If your friend is fluent he should find the poetry ok. All it takes is a bit of reading from the book and then rehashing it in his own words on the page. Besides it's all relative in the leaving cert. The marking scheme is rigged so that about 7% get As, 20% Bs and the rest Cs and under. So relatively speaking, he's more or less guaranteed an A because he's so much better than the majority of people. If he's fluent then the grammar just comes instinctively like twas for us with English.

Cad é an caighdeán Gaeilge i do scoil? Cloisim go bhfuil cúrsa nua i bhfilíocht don Cúigiú bliain. An bhfuil sé go maith?

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JP (Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 159.134.207.162
Posted on Sunday, January 02, 2005 - 08:00 am:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

Bhuel, leis an bhfírinne a insint, níl an caighdeán rómhaith inár scoil. Freastalaíonn timpeall 100 daltaí ar an scoil agus iad ag déanamh an ceathrú bliain (nó cúigiú má bhfuil an idirbhliain déanta acu). Múineann ceathrar múinteoirí iad; trúir don gnáthleibhéal, aonar don ardleibhéal. Tá timpeall 25 inár rang ardleibhéil, an cuid eile roinnte leis na ranganna eile.
Níl fonn ar bith ar na daoine ón gceathrú bliain in ardleibhéal, seachas duine amháin. Tá grúpa maith díograiseach ón idirbhliain, ach ní shílimid go bhfuil an gcúrsa nua go maith, i ndáríre. Athraíodh an prós fosta, chomh maith leis an bhfilíocht. Na dánta léite againn go dtí seo ná "An Gealt" le Aine Ní Glinn, "Níl Aon Ní" le Cathal Ó Searcaigh agus "Jack" le Máire Mhac an t-Saoi. Níl fadhb agam leis an bhfilíocht. Ach is deacair iad leis alán daoine eile. Ach is fuath liom an prós ar an chúrsa. Tá "Coileach Ghleann Pháidraig" le Biddy Jenkinson agus "An Cearrbhac Mac Cába" le Niall Ó Dónaill anchasta agus ní chuireann siad spéis ar bith orm. Ach tá "An Bhéan Óg" le Máire Mhac an t-Saoi suimiúil go leor.
Maidir leis an inscne do na hainmfhocail agus cúrsaí gramadach mar sin, cuireann siad isteach go mór orm. Is fuath liom an chaoi murar bhfaighfeá deamarcanna i do cheapadóireacht, cuireann sin isteach ar chuile roinnt eile don scrúdú. Agus, is fearr liom scríobh na scéalta ná na haistí, ach ní dheanann muid ach aistí i gcónaí sa rang. Níl tú in ann a bheith greannmhar nó cruthaitheach agus ort scríobh aiste leis an bhfadhb tithíochta do mhic léinn i gcéist.
Níl ach timpeall seisear sa scoil agus iad toilteanach labhairt Gaeilge taobh amuigh den rang. Tá an scoil suite i Ráth Bhóth i Co. Dhún na nGall. Mar sin, ní fhreastalaíonn aon dalta nádúrtha líofa uirthi. Ach cúpla duine inti agus sárGhaeilge acu. Ní cheapaim go bhfuil an Ghaeilge tábhachtach don scoil seo; is í an aon ábhar gan duais speisialta ina dhiaidh an Ardteist.

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Tomasocarthaigh
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Username: Tomasocarthaigh

Post Number: 7
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Sunday, January 02, 2005 - 12:12 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

The main problem with Irish is:

Written before spoken - how can you write a word before you know what it means

Grammer before vocabulary - no use knowing the way words go together unless you have words to use

Simplification of the written - standardise irregular tenses to make them easier t learn.

Our pressure group An Teanga Nua is looking at ways to do this, and input on our website www.teanganua.pro.ie would be welcomed.

A modernisation debate is ongoing on this site at http://www.daltai.com/discus/messages/20/13242.html?1104685486#POST18811 : scroll up to see background to it.

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Fear_na_mbróg
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Username: Fear_na_mbróg

Post Number: 336
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 04:56 am:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

quote:

Simplification of the written - standardise irregular tenses to make them easier to learn.



I gived the book to James, but then I taked it back off him.

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Jonas
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Username: Jonas

Post Number: 566
Registered: 08-2004


Posted on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 - 07:37 am:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

Exactly my point, a chara. When I goed to school and the teacher haved us learn irregular verbs, we all thinked that there musted be a simpler language to learn... :-)

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(Unregistered Guest)
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Posted From: 81.152.79.139
Posted on Monday, January 17, 2005 - 01:29 pm:   Small TextLarge TextEdit Post Print Post

Níl sé chomh dona sa tuaisceart mar is cosúil go bhfuil sa deisceart. Fá choinne AS léibhéil, caithfidh tú dhá pháipéir a dhéanamh, agus tá ceisteanna fá litríocht (fá na 5 gnáthscéal, Clann Lir, Gafa, srl) sa 2ú cheann. Múineann an mhúinteoir 2 scéal dúinn de ghnáth agus thig linn ceist amháin ar bith fá sliocht ar bith a roghnú ó na ceisteanna atá ann.



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