An Roinn Oideachais agus Eolaíochta

 

Department of Education and Science

 

 

 

Cigireacht Ábhair Gaeilge

TUAIRSC

 

 

Saint Mary’s Community College

Pobalcholáiste Thraolaigh Mhic Shuibhne

Cnoc na hAoine, Corcaigh

Uimhir Rolla: 71123Q

 

 

 

 

   Dáta na cigireachta:  9 Bealtaine 2006

      Dáta eisiúna na tuarascála: 15 Nollaig 2006

 

 

 

 

 

Tuairisc ar Chaighdeán na Foghlama agus an teagaisc sa ghaeilge

Tuairisc Chigireachta seo

Soláthar an Ábhair agus Tacaíocht na Scoile Uile

Pleanáil agus Ullmhúchán

Teagasc agus Foghlaim

Measúnú agus Gnóthachtáil

Achoimre ar na Príomhthátail agus Moltaí

 

 

TRANSLATION

 

 

Report on the Quality of Learning and Teaching in The  Standard of Learning and Instruction in Irish

Subject Provision and Whole School Support

Planning and Preparation

Teaching and Learning

Assessment and Achievement

Summary of the Main Conclusions and Recommendations

 

 


Tuairisc ar Chaighdeán na Foghlama agus an teagaisc sa ghaeilge

 

 

Tuairisc Chigireachta seo

 

Scríobhadh an tuairisc seo tar éis cigireacht ábhair a bheith déanta ar Phobailcholáiste Thraolaigh Mhic Shuibhne, Corcaigh. Léiríonn sí torthaí meastóireachta ar chaighdeán an teagaisc agus na foghlama sa Ghaeilge agus tugann sí moltaí i leith tuilleadh forbartha ar theagasc an ábhair sa scoil. Cuireadh an mheastóireacht i gcrích thar thréimhse lae amháin inar thug an cigire cuairteanna ar sheomraí ranga agus inar bhreathnaigh sé ar theagasc agus ar fhoghlaim.  Rinne an cigire idirghníomhú le daltaí agus le múinteoirí, scrúdaigh sé obair na ndaltaí agus phléigh sé cúrsaí leis na múinteoirí. D'athbhreithnigh an cigire doiciméadú faoi phleanáil scoile agus ullmhúchán scríofa na múinteoirí.  I ndiaidh na cuairte meastóireachta thug an cigire aiseolas ó bhéal don phríomhoide agus do na múinteoirí ábhair mar gheall ar thorthaí na meastóireachta. Tugadh deis do bhord bainistíochta na scoile a thuairim a léiriú ar thorthaí agus ar mholtaí na tuairisce i scríbhinn; ní bhfuarthas freagra ón mbord.

 

 

 

Soláthar an Ábhair agus Tacaíocht na Scoile Uile

 

Téitear i dteagmháil leis na bunscoileanna roimh theacht na scoláirí go dtí an scoil. Ranganna chumais mheasctha a bhíonn ann sa scoil.  Cuirtear an Teastas Sóisearach agus Clár Scoile an Teastais Shóisearaigh ar fáil sa Timthriall Sóisearach agus cuirtear an Ardteistiméireacht Bhunaithe agus Ardteistiméireacht Fheidhmeach ar fáil do scoláirí sa Timthriall Sinsearach.  Is é polasaí na scoile go mbíonn gach deis ag gach scoláire an leibhéal is airde a bhaint amach san ábhar agus chun é seo a chur i gcrích eagraítear na ranganna sa scoil seo trí chomhamchlárú agus, nuair is cuí, trí mhúineadh i bpáirt le chéile.

 

Tugadh le fios gur rang singil amháin sa ló a bhíonn ann de ghnáth mar gur fearr do na scoláirí ionchur rialta laethúil a fháil. Tá an scoil, idir bhainistíocht is mhúinteoirí, den tuairim gur ceart do gach scoláire sa scoil tabhairt faoin nGaeilge. Tá ardmholadh tuillte ag an scoil don fhealsúnacht is don chleachtas seo.

 

Tá ceathrar múinteoirí ag múineadh na Gaeilge sa scoil. Cé nach gcuirtear aon bhuiséad faoi leith ar fáil do mhúineadh na Gaeilge, tuigtear ó labhairt leis na múinteoirí agus leis an mbainistíocht, go gcuirtear aon riachtanais a bhíonn acu ar fáil, ach iad a chur in iúl.  Tá seomra ranga buan ag gach múinteoir agus tá teacht ar raon áiseanna agus acmhainní. Is ceart na buntáistí a bhaineann le húsáid osteilgeoirí mar áis teagaisc a iniúchadh freisin. Tréaslaítear leis na múinteoirí faoin timpeallacht ranga agus cé chomh maisithe is a bhí roinnt de na seomraí, le póstaeir nua-aimseartha agus níos tábhachtaí fós, le hobair na scoláirí. Ba shuntasach le cloisteáil múinteoir amháin a rá “Is leis na scoláirí an seomra ranga”.

 

Tugadh le fios go mbaintear úsáid as foilseacháin éagsúla chomh maith le fístéipeanna ó TG4. Tuairiscíodh go bhfuil fáil ag na múinteoirí Gaeilge ar sheomra ríomhaireachta sa scoil ach nach mbaineann na múinteoirí úsáid rialta as teicneolaíocht eolais is chaidrimh (TEC) i dteagasc agus i bhfoghlaim na Gaeilge.  Moltar go ndéanfaí athbhreithniú ar leas níos leithne a bhaint as TEC mar is ceart go dtuigfeadh na scoláirí gur teanga bheo í an Ghaeilge sna meáin nua-aimseartha chomh maith.  

Cuirtear na scoláirí ar an eolas faoi choláistí samhraidh agus eagraítear imeachtaí faoi leith le linn Seachtain na Gaeilge. Ag am na cuairte bhí na múinteoirí is scoláirí na séú bliana tar éis cuairt cúpla lá a thabhairt ar an nGaeltacht. Tá a leithéid de chleachtas inmholta agus ba léir gur bhain na scoláirí taitneamh is tairbhe as an turas agus as an deis a fuair siad an teanga bheo a chloisteáil is a labhairt. Chomh maith le sin luaigh múinteoir amháin gur deas an rud é, do mhúinteoirí agus do scoláirí, slán a fhágáil lena chéile trí thuras Gaeltachta. Dearcadh a léiríonn an nasc idir fhorbairt phearsanta na scoláirí agus a bhforbairt fhoghlama san ábhar. Bhí an dearcadh inmholta seo le brath ar fud na scoile le linn mo chuairte.

 

Pleanáil agus Ullmhúchán

 

Is ar bhonn foirmeálta a fheidhmíonn na múinteoirí Gaeilge mar roinn agus is minic a bhíonn   cruinnithe foirmeálta agus neamhfhoirmeálta ag an roinn le linn na scoilbhliana.  Cuireadh in iúl gur roghnú téacsleabhar, roghnú chláir chomónta, scrúduithe comónta agus acmhainní, roinnt scoláirí i ranganna, agus a n-oiriúnacht don leibhéal ag a mbíonn siad ag tabhairt faoin nGaeilge, an phríomhaidhm a bhíonn leis na cruinnithe.  Cuirtear eolas ar na cruinnithe sin ar fáil don bhainistíocht.  Tuigeadh ón mbainistíocht go bhfuil sé mar pholasaí sa scoil oiread taithí agus is féidir ar na leibhéil éagsúla a roinnt go cothrom ar na múinteoirí ar fad agus tá an polasaí seo le moladh.

Tá an scoil i mbéal forbartha leis an bPróiseas um Phleanáil Fhorbartha Scoile agus tréaslaítear leis na múinteoirí faoin bpleanáil phearsanta agus faoin gcomhphleanáil atá ar bun don Ghaeilge. Tugadh suntas faoi leith don chomhmhúinteoireacht agus do na scrúduithe comónta a bhíonn ar siúl ag an bhfoireann.  Is iontach an rud é nuair atá múinteoirí ar aon fhocal faoi obair na bliana agus moltar an deis seo a thapú agus díriú ar, ní hamháin clár na hoibre, ach ar mhodhanna teagaisc a bheadh oiriúnach don chlár roghnaithe sin agus na torthaí foghlama a ghabhann leis, go háirithe torthaí foghlama i leith na teanga labhartha.  Mar a léirítear i siollabais éagsúla na Roinne is é príomhaidhm na gcúrsaí ná chun a chur ar chumas na ndaltaí an Ghaeilge a úsáid

Aithnítear sna cáipéisí scoile agus i dteagasc na Gaeilge an ríthábhacht a bhaineann leis an teanga labhartha i múineadh na Gaeilge agus moltar, chun cur leis an méid déanta go dtí seo, miondíriú a dhéanamh ar mhodheolaíochtaí  chun teanga labhartha na scoláirí a chur chun cinn sna ranganna Gaeilge.  D’fhéadfaí iniúchadh a dhéanamh ar an gcothromaíocht idir teagasc uile-ranga agus teagasc grúpa nó ar na modhanna difreálaithe atá in úsáid agus a d’fhéadfadh a bheith in úsáid sa seomra ranga.  D’fhéadfaí plean ceachta a chumadh le chéile mar roinn is a chur i bhfeidhm sna ranganna cuí agus teacht le chéile ina dhiaidh agus meastóireacht a dhéanamh ar an gceacht.   Is ceart an deis a thapú, go háirithe nuair is léir go bhfuil sprid chomhoibritheach i measc na múinteoirí Gaeilge sa scoil seo agus is múinteoirí díograiseacha iad.  

 

Tá pleanáil agus ullmhúchán de chaighdeán ard sa scoil seo agus tá an-mholadh tuillte ag na múinteoirí agus ag an mbainistíocht.

 

Teagasc agus Foghlaim

 

Tugadh faoi deara ins na ranganna ar fad ar tugadh cuairt orthu go raibh ábhar na gceachtanna ag teacht le siollabais na Roinne agus le raon suime is cumais na scoláirí.  Bhí caidreamh réidh ag na múinteoirí agus ag na scoláirí lena chéile le féith an ghrinn ann uaireanta. Bhí atmaisféar dearfach foghlama le brath sna ranganna ar fad le béim ar fhorbairt iomlána na scoláirí. Moladh na scoláirí chomh minic agus ab’fhéidir le linn na gceachtanna agus bhí féin-mheas is féinmhuinín na scoláirí chun tosaigh i ngach rang. Chuir an méid seo go mór leis an gcomhoibriú a bhí le feiceáil i bpróiseas na foghlama agus an teagaisc a bhí ar bun agus tá creidiúint mhór ag dul do na múinteoirí ina thaobh.  Léirigh na ceachtanna a breathnaíodh go raibh pleanáil chuí déanta ina gcomhair agus go raibh leanúnachas i gceist. Bhí de thoradh ar an bpleanáil chríochnúil seo go raibh struchtúr agus gluaiseacht bhríomhar faoi na ceachtanna. Leagadh béim chuí ar leathnú foclóra agus ar struchtúr na teanga a mhúineadh. 

 

Mar a bheifí ag súil leis, ag an am seo den bhliain, bhí athdhéanamh ar siúl i dtromlach de na  ceachtanna. Rinneadh gach iarracht an Ghaeilge a úsáid mar mhéanteagaisc agus mar ghnáththeanga cumarsáide ranga agus tá an modh oibre seo inmholta. I bhformhór de na ranganna a breathnaíodh baineadh úsáid as tascanna éagsúla, mar shampla ag léamh, ag scríobh agus ag freagairt ceisteanna ó bhéal. Chun chur leis an obair seo is ceart, mar chuid den cheacht, deiseanna cumarsáide a thabhairt do gach scoláire i ngach rang chun an teanga labhartha a chleachtadh agus chabhródh obair bheirte, obair ghrúpa, piartheagasc, rólghlacadh agus araile chun é seo a chur i gcrích.

 

I rang amháin a breathnaíodh sa Timthriall Sóisearach, bhí na scoláirí ag díriú ar nótaí a scríobh bunaithe ar phictiúir faoi leith. Cuireadh le stór foclóra na scoláirí ag tús an cheachta agus baineadh leas éifeachtach as póstaer réamhdhéanta ina raibh an leagan amach don nóta ann do na scoláirí. Sníodh scileanna éisteachta, léitheoireachta agus scríbhneoireachta isteach sa cheacht. Tugadh cuireadh do na scoláirí giotaí beaga a léamh agus ba léir gur bhain na scoláirí taitneamh is tairbhe as páirt ghníomhach a ghlacadh le linn an cheachta. Ba mhinic a bhí na scoláirí ag obair ina n-aonair agus moltar, nuair is cuí, iad a chur ag obair lena chéile ar feadh tréimhsí ama faoi leith. Nuair ba ghá leis, tháinig an múinteoir i gcabhair ar na scoláirí agus ag teacht i dtreo deireadh an ranga scríobhadh amach an nóta ar an gclárdubh le chéile. D’fhéadfaí leas fiúntach a bhaint as osteilgeoir sa chás seo agus taifead a choimeád d’obair mhaith na ranga don chéad rang eile.

 

Tugadh cuairt ar rang eile sa Timthriall Sóisearach agus chonacthas dea-shampla de chomhoibriú i measc na múinteoirí ina raibh beirt mhúinteoirí ag múineadh le chéile in aon seomra. Thosaigh an rang le dúshlán scríbhneoireachta agus bhí ar na scoláirí litir ghairid a scríobh. Baineadh leas as an gclárdubh chun cuspóir an cheachta a choimeád chun tosaigh agus cuireadh ceisteanna ar na scoláirí chun iad a dhíriú ar an dúshlán rompu. Dar ndóigh d’fhéadfaí an seomra a eagrú ionas go mbíonn na scoláirí ag scríobh lena chéile chomh maith. Tharraing an múinteoir aird na scoláirí ar an obair idir lámha le gríosadh chun oibre trí fhráma scríbhneoireachta a chur os a gcomhar ar an gclárdubh. Fad is a bhí múinteoir amháin ag gabháil le teagasc uile-ranga bhí an múinteoir eile ag teacht i gcabhair ar scoláirí áirithe. Maraon leis na ranganna eile ar a tugadh cuairt orthu, bhíothas an-tógtha leis an gceartú cneasta agus an deis a fuair gach scoláire labhairt is foghlaim. Tá an cur chuige seo inmholta agus tréaslaítear leis na múinteoirí as a gcuid oibre ina leith.

 

Bhí scéal as cnuasach Phádraig Mhic Phiarais idir lámha ag scoláirí eile agus mar ab’amhlaidh sna ranganna eile bhí an múinteoir réamhullmhaithe don cheacht. Cuireadh achoimre inmholta ar an scéal, a chuir an múinteoir féin le chéile, ar fáil do na scoláirí agus ba léir go raibh siad tógtha leis an scéal oiriúnach seo. Cuireadh tús leis an gceacht trí léitheoireacht is trí cheisteanna oscailte a chur ar na scoláirí a tharraing a n-aird ar an ábhar a bhí le plé acu. Baineadh leas as réimse leathan de cheisteanna agus ba léir go raibh Gaeilge mhaith ag tromlach de na scoláirí agus ar a dtoil ag cuid acu. Faoi luas oiriúnach, is lámha in airde, lean an ceacht ar aghaidh agus cuireadh le stór foclóra na scoláirí. Tar éis an ghiota léitheoireachta a bheith déanta bhí ar na scoláirí cárta poist a scríobh bunaithe ar laethanta saoire. Tugadh suntas don tslí gur baineadh leas tairbheach as cártaí poist chun an obair seo a chur i gcrích. Le linn an cheachta seo ba léir gur theastaigh ón múinteoir na scileanna teanga a chomhtháthú agus moltar, chun chur leis an dea-chleachtas feicthe, nasc a dhéanamh idir an giota léitheoireachta agus an tasc scríofa trí eochairfhocail ón scéal a athúsáid sa chárta poist.

 

Faoi stiúir chliste an mhúinteora bhí rang sa Timthriall Sinsearach ag obair le hábhar léamhthuisceana.  Trí cheisteanna is freagraí cuireadh an tasc léitheoireachta chun críche. Tugadh samplaí sa bhreis do na scoláirí agus cuireadh iad ag obair ina n-aonair. Fad is a bhí na scoláirí i mbun a gcuid oibre léiríodh dóibh na ceisteanna ginearálta as na hiarpháipéir scrúdaithe agus tugadh gach cabhair do na scoláirí dul chun cinn a dhéanamh leis na giotaí.  Ag teacht i dtreo deireadh an ranga bhí scéal gairid bunaithe ar phictiúr le scríobh. Arís cuireadh faoin tasc seo ina n-aonair agus moltar deiseanna a thabhairt do na scoláirí an tasc a chomhlíonadh lena chéile, go háirithe agus atmaisféar comhoibritheach cruthaithe ag an múinteoir.  Chun saibhreas foclóra na scoláirí a fhorbairt moltar a n-aird a dhíriú ar leas a bhaint as Gaeilge na léamhthuisceana agus iad ag scríobh.

 

Tá cáilíocht na foghlama agus an teagaisc sa Ghaeilge go maith sa scoil seo agus is í aidhm na múinteoirí ná na spriocanna rannpháirtíochta agus gnóthachtála is airde a chur roimh na scoláirí. Moltar, chun chur leis an dea-chleachtais feicthe, aghaidh a thabhairt ar mhodhanna cumarsáide a thabharfadh deiseanna eile do na scoláirí a gcuid Gaeilge a chleachtadh ní hamháin leis an múinteoir ach lena gcomhghleacaithe freisin.

 

Measúnú agus Gnóthachtáil

 

Chomh maith leis an measúnú laethúil is leanúnach sna ranganna, déantar measúnú cuimsitheach ar na scoláirí trí scrúduithe is athbhreithniú rialta i rith na bliana.  Cuirtear scrúduithe ar na scoláirí go foirmeálta, um Nollaig, agus sa samhradh agus ina theannta sin bíonn scrúduithe acu ag deireadh thréimhse oibre áirithe. Bíonn scrúduithe comónta ann nuair is cuí agus reáchtáiltear triailscrúdú don tríú bliain agus don séú bliain san earrach. Coimeádann na múinteoirí cuntas ar na torthaí ina ndialanna féin.  Seoltar cuntas ar na torthaí a ghnóthaíonn na scoláirí abhaile chuig na tuismitheoirí agus tugtar deis do na tuismitheoirí dul i dteagmháil leis na múinteoirí le linn na bliana.

Tugtar le fios gur ar scileanna scríbhneoireachta, léitheoireachta agus éisteachta a bhíonn na scrúduithe seo dírithe don chuid is mó.  Mar ba léir sna cáipéisí scoile agus sna ranganna ar tugadh cuairt orthu is í an teanga labhartha croílár na siollabas agus, dar ndóigh, ní lú tábhacht atá le héisteacht agus le labhairt ná atá le léamh agus le scríobh.  Moltar, dá bharr, go ndéanfaí measúnú níos leithne ar an teanga labhartha freisin.  Séard ab’fhearr a dhéanamh chun é seo a chur i gcrích ná trí bhreathnú is trí mheasúnú leanúnach sa seomra ranga.  D’fhéadfaí teastais shimplí a bhronnadh orthu siúd atá ag déanamh a ndícheall an teanga a labhairt agus nóta a chur sa tuairisc a théann abhaile.

Breathnaíodh ar chóipleabhair agus ar bhileoga oibre na scoláirí agus ba léir go raibh obair déanta is ceartaithe ar raon leathan ábhar a bhí ag gabháil le riachtanais na siollabas agus suim na scoláirí. Bhí rian an mhacnaimh le brath ar na ceartúcháin agus uaireanta bhí nótaí pearsanta agus grád le fáil ann. Téann an dea-chleachtas seo i bhfeidhm go mór ar na scoláirí agus léiríonn sé an suim phearsanta atá ag na múinteoirí i ndul chun cinn na scoláirí.

 

Achoimre ar na Príomhthátail agus Moltaí

 

Is iad seo a leanas na príomhnearta agus na réimsí le haghaidh forbartha a aithníodh sa mheasúnacht:

 

 

 

Mar bhealach le togáil ar na nearta seo agus chun dul i gceann réimsí le haghaidh forbartha, tá na príomh moltaí seo a leanas á ndéanamh:

 

 

Eagraíodh cruinnithe iarmheasúnachta leis na múinteoirí Gaeilge agus leis an bPríomhoide ag deireadh na measúnachta nuair a cuireadh na dréacht-thátail agus na moltaí i láthair agus nuair a pléadh iad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                       TRANSLATION

 

 

 

 

 

Report on the Quality of Learning and Teaching in The  Standard of Learning  and Instruction in Irish

 

 

This Subject Inspection report

 

This report has been written following a subject inspection at Terence McSwiney Community College, Cork It presents the findings of an evaluation of the quality of teaching and learning in Irish and makes recommendations for the further development of the teaching of this subject in the school. The evaluation was conducted over one day during which the inspector visited classrooms and observed teaching and learning. The inspector interacted with students and teachers, examined students’ work, and had discussions with the teachers. The inspector reviewed school planning documentation and teachers’ written preparation. Following the evaluation visit, the inspector provided oral feedback on the outcomes of the evaluation to the principal and the subject teachers. The board of management was given an opportunity to comment in writing on the findings and recommendations of the report; a response was not received from the board.

 

 

 

 

Subject Provision and Whole School Support

 

Contact is made with the primary schools before the students attend the school. Classes in the school are of mixed ability. The Junior Certificate and the Junior Certificate Schools Programme are offered in the Junior Cycle and the established Leaving Certificate and the Leaving Certificate Applied Programme are offered to students in the Senior Cycle. It is school policy that each student has an opportunity to attain the highest level in the subject and in order to accomplish this the classes in this school are organised through co-timetabling and, where appropriate, through team-teaching. 

 

It was conveyed that one single class per day is usually offered as it is better for the students to receive regular daily input. The management and teachers of the school are of the opinion that each student in the school should attempt Irish. The school deserves the highest praise for this philosophy and practice.

 

Four teachers teach Irish in the school. Although no particular budget is allocated to the teaching of Irish, it is understood from teachers and management that all needs are met on request. Each teacher has a permanent room and access to a range of teaching aids and resources. The benefits associated with using an overhead projector as a teaching aid merit investigation.  The teachers are congratulated on the classroom environment and the manner in which some were decorated with modern posters and, more importantly, with students’ work. One teacher was noticed to state that “the classroom belongs to the students”.

 

It was communicated that various publications are used in the teaching of Irish, in addition to videotapes from TG4. It was reported that the Irish teachers have access to a computer room in the school but that they do not use information and communication technology (ICT) regularly for the teaching and learning of Irish. It is recommended that the wider use be made of ICT be reconsidered as the students should understand that Irish is also a living language in the modern media.

 

The students are given information about summer colleges and particular events are organised during Irish Week. At the time of the visit, the teachers and sixth year pupils had completed a visit to the Gaeltacht. This practice is commendable and it was clear that the students had derived enjoyment and benefit from the trip away and from the opportunity to hear and speak the living language. In addition, one teacher remarked that a trip to the Gaeltacht was a pleasant way for teachers and final year students to bid each other farewell. This outlook portrays the continuum between the students’ personal development and their learning development in the subject. This commendable attitude was observed throughout the school during the visit.

 

Planning and Preparation

 

The Irish teachers operate as a subject department on a formal basis and the department meets both formally and informally throughout the school year.  It was stated that the main business of the meetings was selection of textbooks, selection of resources, allocation of students to classes, and their suitability to the level they are studying Irish. Information on these meetings is made available to management. It is understood from the management that it is school policy to provide as much experience as equally as possible at different levels among all the teachers and this policy is to be commended.  

The school is engaged in the School Development Planning Process and the teachers are congratulated on the ongoing personal and joint planning for Irish. Particular notice was taken of the team-teaching and common examinations conducted by the staff.  It is very encouraging when teachers agree on a work plan for the year and it is recommended that this opportunity be used to   focus, not only on the work programme, but also on the instruction methods suitable for that selected programme and its associated learning outcomes, in particular outcomes in respect of the spoken language. As is stated in the Department’s various syllabi the principal aim of the courses is to enable the pupils to use the language. 

The prominence of the spoken language in teaching Irish is recognised in the school documentation and instruction in Irish, and it is recommended that, in order to add to that already achieved to date, methodologies should be addressed which would promote the students’ spoken language in the Irish classes. The balance between whole class instruction and group instruction or differentiated methods that are used and could be used in the classroom might be examined.  A lesson plan might be jointly prepared as a department, carried out in the appropriate classes and later jointly assessed. Such opportunities should be seized especially when there is clearly a spirit of co-operation among the diligent Irish teachers in this school. 

 

Planning and preparation are of a high standard in this school and the teachers and management are to be highly commended.

 

Teaching and Learning

 

In all the classes visited, it was noted that the lesson content was consistent with the Department’s syllabi and with the range of interests and abilities of the students. There was an easy relationship observed between teachers and students with humour used to good effect on occasion. There was a positive learning atmosphere in each class with emphasis on the holistic development of the students. The students were praised as often as possible during the lessons and students’ self-esteem and self-confidence were foremost in every class. This very much added to the atmosphere of co-operation that was observed in the teaching and learning process and great credit is due to the teachers in this regard. It was clear from the lessons that were observed that proper planning and preparation had been carried out and that continuity was ensured. As a result of this thorough planning the lessons were structured and enjoyed a lively pace. Appropriate emphasis was placed on vocabulary development and the teaching of language structure. 

 

As one might expect at this time of year the majority of the lessons involved revision work. Every effort was made to use Irish as the medium of instruction and general communication in class and this method is commendable. In most classes observed various tasks, for example reading, writing, and answering verbal questions were used. To further develop this work, each student should be given the opportunity to communicate in every class so as to practise the spoken language as part of the lesson, and paired work, group work, peer tutoring, role-play etc. would be of assistance in implementing this.

 

In one Junior Cycle class observed the class concentrated on writing notes based on a particular picture. The students’ vocabulary was developed at the start of the lesson and effective use was made of a prepared poster that had the layout of the note for the students’ benefit. Listening, reading and writing skills were incorporated into the lesson. The students were invited to read short passages and they clearly derived enjoyment and benefit from participating actively in the lesson. The students often worked alone and it is recommended that, where appropriate, they work together for periods of time. The teacher came to the assistance of the students, when necessary and towards the end of the lesson the note was composed collectively and written out on the blackboard. Valuable use could be made of an overhead projector in this case and a record of the good class work kept for the next lesson. 

 

Another class in the Junior Cycle was observed in which a good example of teacher co-operation was seen with two teachers teaching together in one room. The class began with a writing challenge in which the students had to write a short letter. The blackboard was used to keep the lesson objective to the fore and the students were asked questions in order to help focus them on the task in hand. Of course the class could also be arranged in order to have the students write together. The teacher directed the students’ attention to the task on hand and encouraged them by presenting a writing framework on the blackboard.  While one teacher engaged in whole class instruction the other teacher helped particular students. In line with the other classes observed one was very impressed by the sensitive manner of correction and the opportunity to speak and learn afforded each student. This team-teaching approach is commendable and the teachers are congratulated on their work in this regard.

 

Other students were working on a story from a Patrick Pearse collection and as was the case in the other classes the teacher had prepared for the lesson. A commendable synopsis of the story, which the teacher had written, was given to the students and they were clearly interested in this suitable story. The lesson started with reading and open questions which focused the students’ minds on the subject to be discussed. A broad range of questions was used and it was evident that the majority of the students had good Irish and some were quiet fluent. The lesson proceeded at a good pace and with hands raised the students added to their vocabulary. Having finished their reading the students had to write a postcard based on holidays. The good use of postcards to carry out this work was noted. During this lesson it was clear the teacher wished to integrate language skills and in order to add to this good practice it is recommended that a connection be made between the reading element and the written task by using keywords from the story in the postcard. 

 

A class in the Senior Cycle worked on reading comprehension material under the able direction of the teacher. The reading task was accomplished through questions and answers. The students were given further samples and set to work individually. While the students worked on the general questions past examination papers were clarified for them and they were given every assistance to make progress with the various sections. Towards the end of the lesson a short story based on a picture had to be written. Once again students were set to work alone on this task and it is recommended that the students be given an opportunity to complete this work together, especially when the teacher has successfully created a co-operative atmosphere. To further enrich the pupils’ vocabulary it is recommended that they be encouraged to use the Irish acquired from their reading comprehension when writing.  

 

The quality of teaching and learning in Irish is good in this school and it is the aim of the teachers to encourage the students to participate and achieve at the highest level. To further develop the good practice observed it is recommended that communicative methods be used so as to give students more opportunities to practice their Irish not only with the teacher but also with their peers.

 

Assessment and Achievement

 

In addition to the daily and continuous assessment in the classes, the students are assessed comprehensively through examinations and regular reviews throughout the year. The students sit formal examinations at Christmas and in summer and they also have examinations at the end of a particular period of work. Common examinations are conducted when appropriate and pre-state examinations are arranged for the third year and the sixth year students in Spring. The teachers record the results in their own diaries. Reports on the results obtained by the students are forwarded to the parents and parents are given an opportunity to contact the teachers during the year. 

It was stated that these examinations are mainly concerned with writing, reading and listening skills. As was obvious from the school documentation and the classes visited the spoken language is at the heart of the syllabus and, of course, listening and speaking are of no less importance than reading and writing. Therefore, it is recommended that a broader assessment be conducted on the spoken language. The best way to accomplish this would be through observation and continuous assessment in the classroom. A simple certificate could be presented to those who do their best to speak the language and a note could be included in the report forwarded to home.  

The students’ copybooks and work sheets were viewed and it was clear that work was done and corrected on a broad range of material that was consistent with the Department’s syllabi and with the students’ range of interests. The corrections were thoughtful and occasionally they included personal notations and grading. Such good practice has a positive influence on the students and it shows the personal interest the teachers take in the students’ progress.

 

Summary of the Main Conclusions and Recommendations

 

The following are the main strengths identified in the evaluation:

 

 

As a means of building on these strengths and to address areas for development, the following key recommendations are made:

 

 

Post-evaluation meetings were held with the teachers and with the principal at the conclusion of the evaluation when the draft findings and recommendations of the evaluation were presented and discussed.