TEACHING OF IRISH
Sir, - I am writing with regard to the correspondence concerning the teaching of Irish in schools, and the fact that so much time and money have been poured into the project. People are not speaking Irish. Therefore, there must be something seriously wrong with the methods being used.
Like a previous correspondent, Kitty Brennan, I have returned to Ireland after many years spent abroad teaching languages. I have watched people lapping up a language with enjoyment and dedication when they were provided with good communicative activities and where they were motivated either by work prospects or travel plans, or simply through love of the language.
What I see in schools here are books that are out-of-date and dull; boring, repetitive grammar exercises; a negative approach to the subject by teachers, and as a result by students; a lack of relevance to everyday life; the language being learnt just to pass an exam; no fun; no appreciation of the value of learning a language - any language; and no appreciation of the beauty of Irish and of how much of our national identity is locked into it.
It may never become the first language again, but with a change in teaching methods, it could become a vibrant second language. I, and other people in my situation, would be very willing to be involved in suggesting new approaches to achieve this. - Yours, etc.,
Fernville, Lismore, Co Waterford.