Below you will find a list of simple suggestions for how a school/ teacher can encourage students to use and enjoy the Irish language throughout the school day.
- Gaeilge Bheo! Is a fantastic resource and all Irish teachers should have a copy. I have had this since I started teaching and it has been invaluable to me in increasing the amount of Gaeilge neamhfhoirmiúil that I use. It has a list of all of the phrases that you might need in a school context which are organised by theme so it is very easy to find what you are looking for. When I stated teaching, I chose a phrase a week that I wanted to get into the habit of using, I wrote it on the board to remind me to use it, and I made an effort to use it as much as possible. When it had become a habit, I chose another phrase, and so on, until I was using a LOT of Gaeilge throughout the school day. I can’t overstate how much this book helped me with this! Costs €12 from the Gael Linn website.
- Frása an Lae – The above was useful for my own use of the Irish language, but in a similar way, you can have a “phrase of the day” for the children or make it “frása na seachtaine” if the children need more practice. Write it on the board and perhaps have a reward, such as a ticket for a raffle, for children that you hear making an effort to use it.
- CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) – With the Primary Language Curriculum, the emphasis is on learning language skills that are transferrable from English to Irish and Irish to English, hence the learning outcomes are the same in both languages. Through CLIL there is an emphasis on communication and using Irish as an ordinary language for every-day activities. Through CLIL the teacher would build up the language skills necessary over a couple of weeks for the children to be able to complete a block of lessons in another subject, for example art or PE, through the medium of Irish.
- Ag am lóin – Cur TG4 ar an gclár bán idirghníomhach msh. Sponge bob/ Garfield as Gaeilge/ Cúla 4 (or you can search YouTube for cartoons in Irish language). For older children, the can watch music videos and content such as TG Lurgan or Seo Linn’s YouTube channel. Alternatively, read picture books to the children as Gaeilge. In my experience, children of ALL ages love picture books in Irish and it doesn’t really matter if the children have limited Gaeilge as the pictures, your gestures and your tone of voice will help them to understand the story. You can also get popular picture books that the children would already be familiar with in English, as Gaeilge! This is fantastic as it helps the children in their understanding, and it also promotes the aim of the Primary Language Curriculum whereby skills learned in one language transfer to the other. com is a good retailer of Irish language books.
- Sosanna Spleodracha – Movement breaks throughout the school day in Irish are available from Gaelbhratach Oifigiúil on YouTube. For younger children, I would use some simple action songs as a movement break/ transition between activites. Plura Lúra agus na Bopóga is my favourite Irish song book for the junior classes and has plenty of simple action songs.
- Suaimhneas Short meditaions in Irish are also available from Gaelbhratach Oifigiúil YouTube.
- Cluichí teanga sa chlós – Teach the children how to play some games for the yard using the Irish language, for instance “Deir O’Grádaigh” or “Cén t-am é a mhac tíre?”. There are also skipping games on the Gaelbhratach Oifigiúil YouTube channel: Rainn Scipeála
- Music – Include some songs as Gaeilge when covering the Listening and Responding strand of the music curriculum. Many songs are on on Youtube. Some suitable ones can be found on the Gaelbhratach Oifigiúil YouTube channel here.
- Gaeilgeoirí an lae ó gach rang – You could give a raffle ticket or a sticker to children who have made an effort to speak Irish throughout the day. Irish language stickers are widely available online, just do a Google search.
- Signage in Irish throughout the school – Irish is a living language to be seen and used through the school day. Bilingual signage should be in place throughout the school e.g. signs on classroom/ office doors, information posters etc.
- Seachtain na Gaeilge – It probably goes without saying, but all schools should participate. It is a fantastic opportunity to create excitement about the Irish language and learning about Irish culture, history and heritage.
I hope you have found this helpful. If you have any other ideas on how to promote the Irish language, please leave a comment below!