23 June, 2006 - Minister Hanafin publishes survey on Irish in Primary schools by Dr John Harris

"New measures aim to create a Grá don Ghaeilge among the next generation of Irish people"- HanafinThe Minister for Education and Science Mary Hanafin,T.D., today published the research report 'Irish in Primary Schools: Long Term National Trends in Achievement' by Dr John Harris, Trinity College Dublin.  The report focusses on the standard of Irish among a sample of  sixth class pupils in various schools and deals with listening, speaking and reading standards.  Tests were carried out in 2002 and involved a random sample of 219 schools throughout the country including ordinary, gaeltacht and gaelscoileanna.  Commenting on the main findings, Minister Hanafin said "it is disappointing to see that pupil performance in Irish in mainstream schools has declined in the past two decades.  What is also a worrying development is the reported fall in pupil performance in Irish in schools in the Gaeltacht.  Gaelscoilleanna are continuing to have high achievement rates in language fluency. We now have at least one gaelscoil in each county and numbers attending gaelscoilleanna increased fivefold in the period between the two studies. What I am committed to seeing is continuing supports for student teachers in the Teacher Training Colleges, to give them the confidence to master the teaching and learning methods of the language. It is also very important that there is a strong emphasis on the spoken language, which makes Irish a living language for children."Minister Hanafin emphasised that the pupils tested in 2002 had not come under the influence of the Primary Curriculum (1999) as it was not yet implemented. "I would be very hopeful that the 'Communicative Approach' which is of the essence of the Primary Curriculum will bring about significant improvements in all aspects of the teaching and learning of Irish in the future" said the Minister.Minister Hanafin also pointed to the series of measures which she announced recently to assist with the teaching and learning of Irish in primary schools. "The process is already underway of employing 30 extra Cuiditheoirí or language experts to advise and direct teachers in schools on the practice of teaching Irish. Cuiditheoirí are already in regular demand from the schools, particularly schools with multiple classes. In addition to this, evening and weekend courses as well as courses during holiday time will be provided for teachers to help them improve their Irish. The Primary Curriculum Support Programme will be providing in-service education this year and one of the training days will be spent dealing with drama in Irish. There has also been significant improvement in the provision of material and resources for the teaching of Irish.  Last year, the Department allocated over €700,000 to An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta, of which €300,000 was specifically for the provision of textbooks and other resources to support teaching and learning."Another initiative aimed at bringing the Irish language to life for pupils from disadvantaged areas will see summer camps being conducted through Irish from next year. "These fun summer camps will provide worthwhile activities through Irish for senior primary pupils from disadvantaged areas for a fortnight during the summer holidays. I also intend to provide scholarships to enable children from these areas to attend already established Irish summer colleges" the Minister continued.Minister Hanafin said that the main objective ultimately was that teachers "would find satisfaction in teaching Irish and pupils would enjoy learning it, see it as a living language and a part of their unique national identity and culture."Minister Hanafin thanked Dr John Harris for this report and the research conducted 'Dr John Harris is the most renowned research scholar in psycholinguistics in Ireland. I welcome his most recent research findings. I thank the author for undertaking the task and presenting this fine research report. I also express my appreciation of all the researchers who assisted him."(See separate note on main findings and recommendations of report)
ENDSHarris report on standards of spoken Irish among 6th class pupilsBackgroundThis report is based on a survey of spoken Irish carried out in 2002.  It is a repeat survey, the first of which was carried out in 1985.  Both surveys were commissioned by the Department of Education and Science.  Dr. John Harris was the principal researcher in both surveys and authored both survey reports.  The surveys encompass three types of school catering for the differing linguistic contexts within which the Irish language is taught: gaelscoileanna or all-Irish schools,
gaeltacht schools
ordinary schools.  The surveys focused on competence in listening, speaking and reading skills and involved pupil paper-based tests, oral tests and the completion of a teacher questionnaire.  These survey outcomes present a major challenge for policy renewal in promoting and furthering the Irish language at all levels of education system and more generally in society. Main findings in relation to All-Irish Schools (gaelscoileanna)Pupil performance relating to the main listening and speaking objectives has remained more or less constant from 1985 to 2002.  A number of key objectives such as 'general comprehension of speech', 'communication' and  'listening vocabulary' are mastered by percentages of pupils which approach or exceed 90%.  Notwithstanding the above, a significant percentage of pupils have difficulty with aspects of verb morphology.  In other words, pupils have a tendency to retain errors in interpreting or using the different tense form of verbs despite exposure to accurate linguistic models.  Pupil mastery of 'understanding the morphology of verbs' has declined from 76.1% in 1985 to 61.3% in 2002.  The success of all-Irish schools in achieving high standards in the teaching of Irish is not dependent in any essential way on factors related to the social background of pupils, the level of education reached by their parents or the use of Irish in the family home. Implementing the curriculum through a second language is a powerful way of embedding proficiency in the second language.Main findings in relation to Gaeltacht schoolsPupil performance across all learning objectives is generally high but lower than all-Irish schools.  The percentages of pupils attaining mastery of 'general comprehension of speech' is 73.3% compared to 96.3% in all-Irish schools.  Overall pupil performance in Irish speaking (but not Irish listening) has declined significantly in gaeltacht schools since 1985.  For example, the percentage of pupils achieving mastery in 'fluency of oral description' has decreased from 86.7% in 1985 to 72.9% in 2002, a drop of almost 14% in mastery levels.  This is a cause for concern. Among the factors to be taken into account in interpreting standards in Irish in gaeltacht schools is the fact that there are many pupils in these schools whose first language is English and, unlike all-Irish schools, many gaeltacht schools do not teach all aspects of the curriculum through the medium of Irish.Main findings in relation to ordinary schools Pupil performance in most Irish speaking and listening objectives has fallen significantly since 1985.  The percentage of pupils achieving mastery of 'communication' in 2002 is 32.9%.  In 1985, this figure was 54%.  In 'fluency of oral description' the percentage of pupils achieving mastery in 2002 is 29.9% while the corresponding percentage in 1985 was 50.3%. The percentage of pupils achieving mastery in 'control of the syntax of statements' in 2002 was 7.5% compared to 19.7% in 1985.  In 'control of the morphology of verbs', the percentage of pupils achieving mastery in 2002 is 3.7%.  In 1985, this figure was 12.1%.  Failure rates across all speaking objectives show an increase for 2002, the increases ranging from 7.4% to 16.6%. According to Dr. Harris, the results of the survey pertaining to ordinary schools reinforces the view of An Coimisinéir Teanga that 'there is an urgent need for a comprehensive and impartial review of every aspect of the learning and teaching of Irish in the educational system'.Recommendations for Improvement.
The focus of Dr. Harris's recommendations for improvement is within the primary education system.  The main recommendations are:- Draw up a strong national plan of action. Increase the scale of Irish medium teaching in ordinary schools and secure buy-in from parents where possible, at local level. Develop and support intermediate forms of immersion education in ordinary schools where 3-5 subjects are taught through Irish. Develop and support other forms of immersion where all subjects are taught through Irish for part of the 8 year primary programme. Invest in intensive teacher education programmes on immersion teaching. Explore the possibility of coordinating some existing human resources involved with SDP, PCSP, scéim na ndearthóirí, modern language primary initiative to work closely with schools in improving Irish language standards. Design home/school models for engaging parental interest in helping their children to learn Irish.
Develop In-career opportunities for teachers to include exposure to the Irish language for short periods in the Gaeltacht. Monitor closely the implementation of the new Irish curriculum in a pedagogical research context.
Design new test instruments, including standardised tests, to monitor the learning of Irish at class and school levels. Establish a high level group in the Department of Education and Science to plan, coordinate and implement a new plan for Irish in the education system.  This group to adopt a broad-based partnership and inter-agency approach in formulating a plan of action.Foilsíonn an tAire Hanafin suirbhé ar an nGaeilge sna Bunscoileanna leis an Dr John Harris
"Is é aidhm na mbeartas nua ná Grá don Ghaeilge a chruthú sa chéad ghlúin eile de mhuintir na hÉireann" - HanafinD'fhoilsigh an tAire Oideachais agus Eolaíochta, Mary Hanafin, T.D. an tuarascáil taighde 'An Ghaeilge sna Bunscoileanna:  Treochtaí Náisiúnta Fadtéarmacha in Inniúlacht' leis an Dr John Harris, Coláiste na Tríonóide inniu. Díríonn an tuarascáil ar chaighdeán na Gaeilge i measc sampla de dhaltaí rang a sé i scoileanna éagsúla agus pléann sí le caighdeáin éisteachta, labhartha agus léitheoireachta. Sa bhliain 2002 a cuireadh na trialacha i bhfeidhm agus bhí sampla ramdamach de 219 scoil ar fud na tíre. Bhí gnáthscoileanna, scoileanna Lán-Ghaeilge agus scoileanna Gaeltachta páirteach sa suirbhé.Agus í ag trácht ar na príomhchinní dúirt an tAire Hanafin " is cúis díomá go bhfuil gnóthachtáil daltaí sa Ghaeilge i ngnáthscoileanna tite le fiche bliain anuas. Ábhar imní é an titim i ngnóthachtáil daltaí i nGaeilge i scoileanna sa Ghaeltacht. Tá na Gaelscoileanna ag leanúint orthu ag baint ardchaighdeán amach i líofacht teanga. Tá ar a laghad gaelscoil amháin i ngach contae um an dtaca seo agus tá méadú faoi chúig tagtha ar an líon daltaí ag freastal ar ghaelscoileanna sa tréimhse idir an dá staidéar.Is é an rud a bhfuilim tiomanta dó ná tacaíochtaí leanúnacha d'abhair oidí sna Coláistí Oideachais chun go mbeadh an mhuinín acu chun barr feabhais a bhaint amach i modhanna múinte agus foghlama na teanga. Is den ríthábhacht é freisin go mbeadh béim láidir ar an teanga labhartha, rud a dhéanann teanga bheo den Ghaeilge do na leanaí."Dhearbhaigh an tAire béim ar Caithfear cuimhneamh nach raibh tionchar ag an gCuraclam Bunscoile (1999) ar na daltaí a cuireadh faoi thriail sa bhliain 2002 mar nach raibh sé i bhfeidhm tríd an scoil fós.  "Bheinn an-dóchasach go dtiocfaidh feabhas suntasach i ngach gné de theagasc agus d'fhoghlaim na Gaeilge amach mar thoradh ar an 'gCur chuige Cumarsáideach' rud atá mar dhlúth agus inneach de Churaclam na Bunscoile." arsa an tAire. De bhreis air sin thrácht an tAire Hanafin ar shraith beartas a d'fhógair sí le déanaí chun cabhrú le teagasc agus foghlaim na Gaeilge sna bhunscoileanna. "Tá an próiseas ar bun cheana féin chun tríocha Cuiditheoir, nó saineolaí teanga breise a fhostú chun treoir agus comhairle a chur ar oidí sna scoileanna faoi mhúineadh na Gaeilge. Is mór an t-éileamh a bhíonn ag scoileanna, go háirithe scoileanna ilranganna, ar sheirbhís na gCuiditheoirí atá ann cheana féin. De bhreis air sin, cuirfear cúrsaí tráthnóna, cúrsaí deireadh seachtaine agus cúrsaí i rith na laethanta saoire ar fáil do mhúinteoirí chun feabhas a chur ar a gcuid Gaeilge. Beidh oiliúint inghairme ar bun i mbliana faoin gClár Tacaíochta don Churaclam Bunscoile agus caithfear lá den oiliúint sin le drámaíocht as Gaeilge.Tháinig feabhas suntasach sa soláthar ábhair agus acmhainní le haghaidh teagasc na Gaeilge. An bhliain seo
caite, dháil an Roinn breis is €700,000 ar an gComhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta, agus bhí €300, 000 de sin dírithe ar sholáthar téacsleabhar agus acmhainní eile mar thacaíocht don teagasc agus don fhoghlaim.Tionscnamh eile atá beartaithe chun taitneamh don teanga a thabhairt do leanaí agus beocht a chur sa teanga dóibh ná  campaí samhraidh trí mheán na Gaeilge ón mbliain seo chugainn amach. "Soláthróidh na campaí spraoi samhraidh seo gníomhaíochtaí fiúntacha  trí Ghaeilge do dhaltaí sinsearacha bunscoile ó cheantair faoi mhíbhuntáiste ar feadh coicíse i rith laethanta saoire an tsamhraidh. Tá fúm scoláireachtaí a chur ar fáil chun cuidiú le leanaí ó na ceantair sin freastal ar choláistí Gaeilge atá bunaithe cheana féin." a dúirt an tAire Dúirt an tAire Hanafin gurb é an príomhchuspóir ar deireadh thiar ná go mbainfeadh oidí "sásamh as múineadh na Gaeilge agus go mbainfeadh na daltaí taitneamh as í a fhoghlaim  mar theanga bheo agus mar dhlúthchuid dá n-oidhreacht agus dá gcultúr  sainiúil.Ghabh an tAire Hanafin buíochas leis an Dr John Harris as an tuarascáil seo agus as an taighde a rinneadh. "Is é an Dr John Harris, an taighdeoir is cáiliúla i gcúrsaí síctheangeolaíochta sa tír. Fáiltím roimh na tátail taighde is déanaí uaidh. Táim buíoch den údar as an obair a ghabháil idir lámha agus an tuarascáil bhreá taighde seo a chur inár láthair. Ba mhaith liom mo bhuíochas agus mo mhórmheas a ghabháil leis na taighdeoirí ar fad a chuidigh leis chomh maith.(Féach nóta ar Leith maidir le príomhchinní agus príomh-mholtaí na tuarascála) Download reportCRÍOCHTuarascáil Harris ar chaighdeáin Gaeilge labhartha dhaltaí rang a séTá an tuarascáil seo bunaithe ar shuirbhé ar labhairt na Gaeilge a rinneadh sa bhliain 2002. Athshuirbhé atá ann sa mhéid go ndearnadh an chéad cheann sa bhliain 1985. Ba í an Roinn Oideachais agus Eolaíochta a choimisiúnaigh an dá thuarascáil.Ba é an Dr John Harris an príomhthaighdeoir ar an dá shuirbhé agus an té a bhí ina údar orthu. Baineann an suirbhé le trí shaghas scoile atá ag freastal ar na comhthéacsanna éagsúla teanga ina múintear an Ghaeilge.Dhírigh an suirbhé ar chumas i scileanna éisteachta, labhartha, agus léitheoireachta agus baineadh feidhm as trialacha ar phár, bhéaltrialacha agus chomhlánú ceistneoir oide.Soláthraíonn tátail an tsuirbhé mórdhúshlán d'athnuachan beartais i gcur chun cinn agus leathnú na Gaeilge ag gach leibhéal den chóras oideachais agus, ar bhonn níos leithne, sa chomhphobal mór.Príomhchinní maidir le GaelscoileannaD'fhan feidhmíocht daltaí ar na príomhchuspóirí éisteachta agus labhartha mórán mar an gcéanna ó 1985 go 2002. Ghnóthaigh céatadán os cionn 90% de dhaltaí máistreacht i líon eochairchuspóirí mar ?Thuiscint ghinearálta ar an teanga labhartha', chumarsáid' agus ?foclóir éisteachta'. Ainneoin a bhfuil ráite ansin, tá deacracht ag líon suntasach daltaí máistreacht a bhaint amach i ngnéithe de dheilbhíocht an bhriathair i gcuspóirí éisteachta. I bhfocail eile tá claonadh láidir ag daltaí meancóga teanga a chaomhnú agus iad ag tuiscint agus ag úsáid na foirmeacha éagsúla aimsirí na mbriathra  ainneoin go gcloiseann siad na heiseamláirí is fearr Thit máistreacht daltaí ar ?Chruinnaithint ar dheilbhíocht na mbriathra' ó 76.1% i 1985 go 61.3% i 2002 Ní bhraitheann chomh maith agus a éiríonn leis na scoileanna lán-Ghaeilge leibhéil arda a bhaint amach i dteagasc na Gaeilge in aon tslí bhunúsach ar fhachtóirí a bhaineann le cúlra sóisialta daltaí, leibhéal oideachais a dtuismitheoirí ná úsáid na Gaeilge sa teaghlach. Is bealach sáréifeachtach chun líofacht sa dara teanga a dhaingniú an curaclam a chur i bhfeidhm tríd an dara teanga.Príomhchinní maidir le scoileanna GaeltachtaTá feidhmíocht daltaí ar gach cuspóir foghlama ard i gcoitinne ach níos isle ná scoileanna lán-Ghaeilge. Is iad na céatadáin de dhaltaí a bhain máistreacht amach i tuiscint ghinearálta ar an teanga labhartha ná 73.3% i gcomparáid le 96.3% i scoileanna lán-Ghaeilge. Tháinig titim shuntasach ar fheidhmíocht fhoriomlán daltaí i labhairt (ach ní in éisteacht) i scoileanna Gaeltachta ó 1985. Mar shampla, thit an céatadán daltaí a bhain máistreacht amach i ?líofacht cainte' ó 86.7% i 1985 go 72.9% i 2002, titim de bheagnach 14% i leibhéil mháistreachta. Is údar imní é sin. Ar na fachtóirí le cur san áireamh agus titim na gcaighdeán sa Ghaeilge i scoileanna Gaeltachta á léirmhíniú tá an chaoi a bhfuil lion suntasach breise de dhaltaí i scoileanna Gaeltachta arb é an Béarla a dteanga dhúchais agus an lion forásach de scoileanna Gaeltachta a dhéanann cinneadh gan gach gné den churaclam a mhúineadh trí Ghaeilge.Príomhchinní maidir le gnáthscoileannaTharla titim shuntasach san fheidhmíocht i bhformhór chuspóirí labhartha agus éisteachta ó 1985.  Is é an céatadaán daltaí a fuair máistreacht i ?gCumarsáid' i 2002 ná 32.9%. Ba é 54% an figiúr sa bhliain 1985. I ?líofacht cainte' is é an céatadán daltaí a fuair máistreacht i 2002 ná 29.9% fad a bhí céatadán de 50.3% ann sa bhliain 1985. Is é an céatadán daltaí a fuair máistreacht i ?gcruinnúsáid chomhréir ráiteas' i 2002 ná 7.5% i gcomparáid le 19.7% i 1985. Is é an céatadán daltaí a fuair máistreacht i ?gcruinnúsáid dheilbhíocht na mbriathra' i 2002 ná 3.7% i gcomparáid le 12.1% i 1985. Tháinig ardú ar an ráta teipe thar na cuspóirí labhartha ar fad sa bhliain 2002 ó 7.4% go 16.6% De réir an Dr Harris daingníonn torthaí an tsuirbhé chomh fada is a bhaineann le gnáthscoileanna tuairim an Choimisinéara Teanga  ?go bhfuil géarghá le hathbhreithniú cuimsitheach neamhchlaonta ar gach gné d'fhoghlaim agus de theagasc na Gaeilge sa chóras oideachais'.Moltaí le haghaidh feabhaisTá fócas mholtaí an Dr Harris le haghaidh feabhais laistigh den chóras bunoideachais. Is iad seo na príomh-mholtaí: Leag amach plean gníomhaíochta náisiúnta láidir Cuir le méid an teagaisc trí mheán na Gaeilge i ngnáthscoileanna agus faigh tacaíocht na dtuismitheoirí nuair is féidir ar bhonn áitiúil. Déan forbairt ar fhoirmeacha de thumoideachas i ngnáthscoileanna mar a bhfuil 3-5 ábhar á múineadh trí Ghaeilge agus tabhair tacaíocht dóibh. Déan forbairt ar fhoirmeacha idirmheánacha de thumoideachas mar a bhfuil gach ábhar á mhúineadh trí Ghaeilge ar feadh cuid de chlár ocht mbliana an bhunoideachais agus tabhair tacaíocht dóibh. Déan infheistiú ar dhianchláracha oideachais d'oidí ar an tumoideachas. Féach an féidir athshannadh/ aistriú a dhéanamh ar chuid den phearsanra atá gafa le scéimeanna mar Fhorbairt Phleanáil scoile, Clár Tacaíochta don Churacam Bunscoile, scéim na ndearthóirí, tionscnamh na nuatheangacha chun oibriú go dlúth le scoileanna chun caighdeáin Ghaeilge a ardú. Déan samhlacha teaghlach/scoile a dhearadh chun suim thuismitheoirí a mhealladh chun cuidiú lena leanaí ag foghlaim na Gaeilge. Déan forbairt ar dheiseanna inghairme do mhúinteoirí chun go mbeidh teagmháil acu leis an nGaeilge ar feadh tréimhsí gearra sa Ghaeltacht. Déan dlúthmhonatóireacht ar fheidhmiú an churaclaim nua Ghaeilge i gcomhthéacs taighde oideolaígh. Déan ionstraimí nua tástála a dhearadh, ina measc trialacha caighdeánaithe, chun monatóireacht a dhéanamh ar fhoghlaim na Gaeilge ag leibhéil an ranga agus na scoile. Bunaigh buíon ardleibhéal sa Roinn Oideachais agus Eolaíochta chun pleanáil, comhordú agus feidhmiú a dhéanamh ar phlean don Ghaeilge sa chóras oideachais. Ba chóir don bhuíon seo páirtnéireacht bonnleathan agus cur chuige idir-ghníomhaireacht a ghlacadh chucu féin agus plean gníomhaíochta a dhearadh acu.