New Gaelic scheme for teachers

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Twelve teachers from across Scotland are taking part in a unique pilot training programme to assist with the increased demand for Gaelic-speaking primary and secondary school teachers.

In a new partnership between Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Glasgow University, the teachers have spent a concentrated four days being taught various aspects of language development in the classroom. Demand for the programme has been overwhelming and preparations are already underway for it to be repeated.

The participants have some Gaelic language skills but are currently teaching through the medium of English. However, this course is the first step in preparing them to acquire the necessary skills and confidence to teach through the medium of Gaelic.

Cabinet Secretary for Education (and Gaelic) Michael Russell said: “This is excellent news for the teaching of Gaelic in Scotland. I am particularly pleased to see that demand for the scheme was so high that Bòrd na Gàidhlig and Glasgow University have created more places on it. The Scottish Government is committed to a secure and sustainable future for Gaelic in Scotland and having more teachers able to teach in this medium will help ensure we can keep Gaelic relevant in a modern Scotland. With Dr. Alasdair Allan taking post as Minister for Learning and Skills with responsibility for Gaelic and Scots, I am looking to a vibrant future for traditional Scottish languages.”

The four day programme has familiarised the participants with the support structures available in Gaelic education, as well as enhanced and extended their confidence to communicate in a classroom situation. Morna MacLeod, Teacher Recruitment Officer at Bòrd na Gàidhlig said: “The week has been a tremendous success. Local Authorities identified teachers with some Gaelic language, who are interested in teaching through the medium of Gaelic. The teachers who attended the course now have the opportunity to progress to the STREAP course where they can extend their Gaelic language even further. It’s a step forward for teachers to have the confidence to use some Gaelic in their current situations and raise the profile of Gaelic in their own schools and subject areas.”

Gilbert MacMillan from Glasgow University added: “The course focussed on developing general classroom language as well as some language specific to subjects. The initial focus was on spoken language so that the teachers would feel confident if they were in a situation where they were could use some Gaelic language with their students.”