Irish

The Irish Department aims to support the whole curriculum, whilst still providing opportunities for Irish as a subject in its own right. We aim to teach in a meaningful context, providing pupils with experiences of using Irish creatively and with confidence.

SPECIFIC AIMS OF THE IRISH DEPARTMENT

The Irish Department aims to:

  • foster a knowledge and appreciation of the Irish language as an indigenous language;
  • provide an enjoyable environment which allows pupils to develop a suitable level of competence in spoken and written Irish;
  • encourage pupils to develop personal qualities, such as self-confidence, independence and effective communication;
  • develop pupils’ ability to comprehend and present information effectively through the medium of Irish; and
  • enable pupils to develop transferable communication skills that can be used in a series of situations and across various subjects.

OVERVIEW OF KEY STAGE 3 CURRICULUM

At Key Stage 3, Irish is delivered over four lessons per fortnight.

In Year 10, each pupil also has the opportunity to achieve the Fáinne and to attend the Gael Linn Junior Quiz. A large number of pupils attend Gaeltacht courses each summer.

YEAR 8 CURRICULUM

In Year 8, pupils study the following topics:

  • Describing Self
  • The Environment
  • Shopping
  • Counting
  • Irish-medium Tour of Belfast Zoo

YEAR 9 CURRICULUM

In Year 9, pupils study the following topics:

  • Discussing Family Members
  • Friends and Heroes
  • Personal Pastimes
  • Daily Routine
  • School
  • Home
  • Cultural Visit to Croke Park, Dublin

YEAR 10 CURRICULUM

In Year 10, pupils study the following topics:

  • Family and Friends
  • Home Area
  • Occupations
  • Holidays
  • Shopping
  • Health
  • The Gaeltacht

OVERVIEW OF KEY STAGE 4 CURRICULUM

At Key Stage 4, the Irish Department offers Irish at GCSE Level. Pupils follow the CCEA specification. Irish is delivered over six lessons per fortnight.

Pupils will be examined on their knowledge of the language within the following contexts for learning:

  • Context 1: The Individual
  • Context 2: Citizenship
  • Context 3: Employability

Pupils will be assessed in the four main skill areas of: Speaking, Writing, Listening and Reading.

Unit 1: Speaking (30%)

This unit aims to develop pupils’ confidence with the spoken language and to increase their vocabulary in Irish.

In this unit, pupils are required to engage meaningfully with the preparation of the task, practice pronunciation regularly in class and at home, and ideally attend a course in the Gaeltacht during the summer.

This unit is assessed in the form of two oral pieces of Controlled Assessment. Pupils will have 3-4 hours to prepare for the task in school and 4-6 minutes to complete the final assessment for this unit. Assessment of this unit will take place in April of Year 11 and in October of Year 12. Pupils’ work in this unit will be internally assessed and externally moderated.

Unit 2: Writing (30%)

This unit aims to enhance pupils’ written ability in Irish and to increase their awareness of grammar and structures.

In this unit, pupils are required to embrace key grammatical issues and to focus on developing their vocabulary. Pupils are also encouraged to present justified opinions and to write for a purpose or particular audience.

This unit is assessed in the form of two written pieces of Controlled Assessment. Pupils will have 5-6 hours to prepare for the task and 1 hour to complete the assessment for this unit. Assessment of this unit will take place in February of Year 11 and November of Year 12. Pupils’ work in this unit will be externally assessed.

Unit 3: Listening (20%)

This unit aims to enable pupils to understand gist, identify main points and detail, recognise points of view, attitudes and emotions, and draw conclusions.

In this unit, pupils are required to engage in a range of listening exercises during the two year course, as well as actively seeking out further opportunities outside of the classroom on the internet, TV, radio or language apps.

This unit is assessed in the form of a Listening exam. Pupils will have 45 minutes to complete the assessment for this unit. Assessment of this unit will take place at the end of Year 12. Pupils’ work in this unit will be externally assessed.

Unit 4: Reading (20%)

This unit aims to provide pupils with a variety of items of stimulus material in Irish and develop their ability to respond to comprehension activities.

In this unit, pupils are required to engage meaningfully with the written language on a regular basis and, under exam conditions, respond to exercises involving gap filling, vocabulary selection or answering in Irish/English.

This unit is assessed in the form of a written examination. Pupils will have 50 minutes to complete the assessment for this unit. Assessment of this unit will take place at the end of Year 12. Pupils’ work in this unit will be externally assessed.

OVERVIEW OF KEY STAGE 5 CURRICULUM

At Key Stage 5, the Irish Department offers Irish at AS and A2 Level. Pupils follow the CCEA specification. At AS and A2 Level, Irish is delivered over ten periods per fortnight.

At AS Level, students must successfully complete two modules. A further two modules must be successfully completed at A2 Level.

AS IRISH

At AS Level, students should have the opportunity to understand and explore a range of issues in Irish within the following three contexts:

  • Context 1: Relationships
  • Context 2: Health and Lifestyle
  • Context 3: Young People in Society

Unit 1: Speaking (35%)

This unit aims to empower students to:

  • understand, infer meaning and draw conclusions from a variety of spoken sources covering different contexts, registers, styles and genres;
  • express information, facts and ideas and justify opinions in spoken Irish;
  • understand and apply accurately the grammatical system and a range of structures as detailed in the AS specification; and
  • adapt spoken and written language appropriately for different situations and purposes.

In this unit, students are required to complete a 3 minute presentation on a topic of their choosing, answer a selection of questions on this, and then engage in a conversation on a variety of topics such as: Myself, Family, School, Hobbies, University and Gaeltacht.

This unit is assessed in the form of an oral exam. Students will have 13 minutes to complete the assessment for this unit. Assessment of this unit will take place at the end of Year 13. Students’ work in this unit will be externally assessed.

Unit 2: Listening, Reading and Writing (65%)

This unit aims to empower students to:

  • understand, infer meaning and draw conclusions from a variety of spoken sources covering different contexts, registers, styles and genres;
  • adapt spoken and written language appropriately for different situations and purposes;
  • understand, infer meaning and draw conclusions from a variety of written texts (including authentic sources) covering different contexts, registers, styles and genres;
  • transfer meaning from Irish into English;
  • express information, facts and ideas and justify opinions in written Irish; and
  • understand and apply accurately the grammatical system and a range of structures as detailed in the AS specification.

In this unit, students are required to complete a selection of gap fill exercises and comprehension tasks, translate a passage from Irish to English and write a critical essay based on a selection of issues from the contexts studied throughout the year.

This unit is assessed in the form of a written examination. Students will have 2 hours and 45 minutes to complete the assessment for this unit. Assessment of this unit will take place at the end of Year 13. Students’ work in this unit will be externally assessed.

A2 IRISH

At A2 Level, students should have the opportunity to understand and explore a range of issues in Irish within the following two contexts:

  • Context 4: Local and Global Citizenship
  • Context 5: Environmental Awareness

Unit 3: Speaking (35%)

This unit aims to empower students to:

  • understand, infer meaning and draw conclusions from a variety of spoken sources covering different contexts, registers, styles and genres;
  • express information, facts and ideas and justify opinions in spoken Irish;
  • understand and apply accurately the grammatical system and a range of structures as detailed in the A Level specification; and
  • adapt spoken and written language appropriately for different situations and purposes.

In this unit, students are required to complete a 5 minute discussion on a selection of short films in Irish and follow this up with a 10 minute conversation on a range of topics including future plans, locality, employment, holidays etc.

This unit is assessed in the form of an oral exam. Students will have 15 minutes to complete the assessment for this unit. Assessment of this unit will take place at the end of Year 14. Students’ work in this unit will be externally assessed.

Unit 4: Listening, Reading & Writing (65%)

This unit aims to empower students to:

  • understand, infer meaning and draw conclusions from a variety of spoken sources covering different contexts, registers, styles and genres;
  • adapt spoken and written language appropriately for different situations and purposes;
  • understand, infer meaning and draw conclusions from a variety of written texts (including authentic sources) covering different contexts, registers, styles and genres;
  • transfer meaning from English into Irish;
  • develop arguments, analyse, evaluate, compare and contrast in written Irish; and
  • understand and apply accurately the grammatical system and a range of structures as detailed in the A Level specification.

In this unit, students are required to complete a selection of gap fill exercises and comprehension tasks, translate a passage from English to Irish and write a critical essay based on a selection of poems/poets studied throughout the year.

This unit is assessed in the form of a written examination. Students will have 3 hours to complete the assessment for this unit. Assessment of this unit will take place at the end of Year 14. Students’ work in this unit will be externally assessed.

EXTRA- CURRICULAR PROVISION

The Irish Department contributes extensively to the school’s extra-curricular provision. Extra-curricular activities include:

  • Club Mhuire
  • Gael Linn Quiz (2nd place NI 2013)
  • Gaeltacht Visits
  • Belfast Zoo Irish Medium Tour
  • Abair Public Speaking GCSE/AS/A2 (1st NI 2012)
  • Ashbourne Shield (Winners 2012)
  • Céilí Dancing
  • Guest Speakers e.g. Gael Linn, University of Ulster

FACILITIES AND RESOURCES

The Irish Department has two classrooms fully equipped with Promethean interactive whiteboards, Dell PCs, iPad’s and Apple TV. Senior school pupils are also supported by a Language Assistant who offers linguistic support to small focused groups.

CAREERS INFORMATION

Students who chose to study Irish at A Level typically fall into one of two categories: those who wish to pursue Irish to degree level and seek employment or those whose interest is such that they enjoy the study of the language and recognise its value as a high end academic subject to assist with entry into University to pursue their course of interest.

To that end, pupils from the Irish Department may continue to pursue the following careers:

  • Teaching/ Lecturing
  • Translation (EU Opportunities)
  • Media
  • Sound/Visual Engineering
  • Business Management
  • Web Design
  • Legal Profession

The Irish language is prominent in a global context and students may wish to consider studies/modules in this international context. Some universities offering Irish or Celtic Studies at degree level include:

  • Harvard University, America
  • University of Wisconsin, America
  • Cambridge University, England
  • Freiburg University, Germany
  • Foreign Studies University, Beijing

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