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The way Irish is taught from primary to secondary school is begging for reform.
As a nation, if we wish to keep our last flicker of culture alive the Irish curriculum needs to be changed, and fast.
I am a secondary school pupil in fifth year, and throughout my school days from primary to secondary I couldn’t help notice how badly our native language is taught. In primary school, Irish was nothing more than learning off random vocabulary and pieces of grammar for a Friday test. The week after that test, all we had previously learned had been forgotten. Leaving primary school I was unsure how to say ‘a’ in Irish: this was not because I didn’t pay attention and listen, but because we did not learn basic grammar essentials or how to form a sentence.
In the Junior Cert cycle in secondary school, my Irish improved but the Junior Cert still consisted of learnt-off answers that we absolutely relied on.
I propose a simple solution to stop Irish being the subject everyone hates and allow learners to truly understand the language. My solution is conversation. In primary school children should be encouraged to speak Irish in class with their teacher and use newly learned vocabulary through dialogue. Irregular vocabulary needs to be minimised and any new grammar or vocabulary needs to be reiterated by the teacher throughout the year, as this way it will eventually stick in your head. I’m not recommending all subjects are taught through Irish, but when teaching Irish the teacher should talk to their class in Irish, ask them questions, involve each student in conversation and their standard of Irish will improve in heaps.
Irish is a dying language and if the curriculum is not reformed promptly I believe the language will soon die out, killing our last glimmer of native culture.
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