Student teacher experience of Content and Language Integrated Learning

Aisling Ní Dhiorbháin and Máire Ní Bhaoill

Abstract

This article describes the experiences of nine student primary school teachers (SPT), three undergraduate students and six postgraduate students, of teaching subjects through Irish in English-medium primary schools. For the purpose of a final year research project, each SPT taught one subject a week through Irish, over a period of four weeks, during their school placement, during February and March 2016. The SPTs aimed to investigate the challenges and the benefits of implementing Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) through Irish, on a practical level in an English-medium classroom. The SPTs gathered qualitative data from: reflections on their CLIL lesson plans; feedback from the children and class teacher; observational notes; and assessment of the children’s work. To investigate the data collected by the SPTs, their research projects were analysed using thematic analysis, and a sample of the students participated in a single focus group. Findings from the research indicate significant challenges when implementing CLIL through Irish with regard to: planning; lack of teaching resources; children’s proficiency in Irish; as well as the teacher’s own proficiency and confidence in using the language. This study shows that the CLIL lessons enhanced the children’s motivation to use Irish, and evoked a positive attitude towards the language in general. Recommendations arise from the research in relation to the provision of specialist education on CLIL through Irish for student teachers and in relation to the development of appropriate teaching resources.

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COMHARTaighde is an open access, peer-reviewed scholarly journal in the field of Irish language and literature studies. The full text of the article described on this page is available in the Irish language only. English-language translations of article titles, abstracts and certain metadata are provided in order to enable international scholars to discover research published in COMHARTaighde and to facilitate the indexing of articles in certain academic databases.

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© Comhar Teoranta, 2016.
ISSN: 2009-8626