A' Chiad Ghinealach: The experience of Gaelic medium education in the Western Isles

Morrison, Marion Fiona (2006) A' Chiad Ghinealach: The experience of Gaelic medium education in the Western Isles. MLitt(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This thesis aims to provide a study of the experience of the first generation of pupils in the Western Isles who have been through the primary Gaelic-medium education system, and were in six-year secondary schools in the region at the time of this research. The study consists of illustrative analysis and commentary of pupil and parental responses to questionnaire surveys. In addition, pupils, teachers and educationalists were interviewed and their perceptions of the aims and effectiveness of Gaelic-medium education and the issues surrounding it are presented. A further aim of this research was to consider the current status of Gaelic education within the context of the debate on the history of language decline, identity and the ideology of future language planning. I do not seek to give an evaluation of Gaelic medium education in terms of its pedagogic success. My aim is rather to consider the overall experience in the contexts in which the participants and stake holders find themselves and in the wider backdrop of issues and theories surrounding identity, culture and language revitalisation.Chapter 1 outlines the aims of the research, examines historical factors and other key issues of Gaelic language decline and tracks the development of Gaelic medium education through the primary schools bilingual education project to the implementation and further progress of GME (Gaelic-medium education) and the pivotal role of parents in the Western Isles.Chapter 2 In this chapter I have provided an overview of key areas of interest included in my research ranging from the perceived status of Gaelic to the theoretical questions on language preservation culture and identity which are relevant to the position of Gaelic today.Chapter 3. This chapter outlines the methodology of the research and the scope of the study.Chapter 4 consists of an analysis of the pupil questionnaire survey responses presented in the form of graphs and commentary. The chapter concludes with a short summary of responses to the questionnaire themes.In Chapter 5,1 present analysis and commentary on the group interviews conducted in four six-year secondary schools in Lewis, Harris, Uist and Barra respectively, together with a discussion of the broader themes that emerged from the interviews.Chapter 6 reviews and analyses the parent responses to a questionnaire survey designed to ascertain their perceptions of the effectiveness of the GM (Gaelic-medium) education.Chapter 7 considers the views of Head Teachers, Gaelic teachers and other educationalists on GM education and key issues such as language planning and the status of Gaelic.Chapter 8 considers some issues of the stewardship and regeneration of Gaelic and draws comparisons between the ideologies which underpin language regeneration policies elsewhere in Europe and in North America. Key issues discussed are the place of Gaelic within national and local planning strategies and the support offered both to the language and to the parents who opt for Gaelic-medium education.Chapter 9 offers a brief review of the information gleaned from the views of the client groups of Gaelic-medium education. The chapter then gives my conclusions which refer to the overall effectiveness of Gaelic-medium education both in terms of language acquisition and cultural enhancement. The chapter makes recommendations for the future development of an effective Gaelic-medium education strategy which embraces the broader issues of culture and identity facing schools and language policy makers within and beyond the Western Isles.

Item Type: Thesis (MLitt(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Additional Information: Adviser: Cathair O Dochartaigh
Keywords: Bilingual education, Language arts
Date of Award: 2006
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2006-74231
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2019 15:33
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2019 15:33
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/74231

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