Content and language integration in the immersion context: pre-service teachers’ professional development through Lesson Study

T.J. Ó Ceallaigh, Mairéad Hourigan and Aisling Leavy


Research has shown immersion to be effective, yet our understanding about the integration of language and content in immersion pedagogy remains incomplete. Teacher preparation and professional development are therefore critical steps in the evolution of effective language immersion education in Ireland. The knowledge base and pedagogical skills needed for Irish-medium immersion classrooms are unique and complex. Despite the diverse and dynamic nature of immersion programmes, there is a significant dearth of research in relation to the essential knowledge base required to ensure the acquisition of subject content knowledge while concurrently building second language proficiency. This article reports on how the teaching of mathematics in the Irish-medium immersion elementary setting supported pre-service teachers in bridging the language and content gap. The study utilised Japanese Lesson Study to design and implement mathematics lessons and qualitative data were collected from a variety of sources. Findings provide unique insights into the knowledge demands related to designing and implementing content lessons and reveal the challenges for pre-service teachers in providing balanced language and content instruction. The complexities of identifying and integrating specific linguistic outcomes in content-based instruction are discussed and high-impact teaching and learning strategies that foster content and language integration are identified.

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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, 2020.
ISSN: 2009-8626