Education Working Group II Minutes

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Opportunities to use the language outside school is vital in immersion education ? social and economic drivers vital for the success of the education.

    Network of European Language Boards

    Immersion and Trilingual Education Working Group

    Dublin, 21-22 February 2005


    Meirion Prys Jones

    Dr Catrin Redknap

    Gosta Jellema

    Ferdie Mac an Fhailigh

    Bethan Griffiths

1 Presentation by FNT pre schooling in the Irish language

2 Presentation by Gaeilscoileanna Primary or post primary education

    in the Irish language

3 Brainstorm

     Definition needed for the website.

     The aims of this type of education should be made clear

    - is it the only way to produce a minority language community?

    No! All agreed its main aim is to educate children. The education has to

    be at least as good, if not better that majority language education.

    Opportunities to use the language outside school is vital in immersion

    education social and economic drivers vital for the success of the

    education. The education system is a strong driver to create speakers,

    and provides them with the equipment. HOWEVER, it does not provide

    the context for the language.

4 Early Late and Mid Immersion

     Agreed that the sooner the education starts the better.

    In Ireland Irish is taught as a subject in English medium primaries, and

    there are a few instances of mid immersion, but there is no back up

    system. There are language assistants in primary schools also.

    In Friesland, the trilingual system an example of the mid immersion model.

    In Wales, centres for latecomers provide a mid immersion model, and

    there is a pilot project. Late immersion is present in one secondary school,

    and there is one example of a centre for latecomers in a secondary school.

5 Teaching Methodologies

    Language is used as the medium of play in immersion models. In Canada

    - mid immersion methodology is very traditional, and teacher based.

    However, group work and language use is vital for its success.

    In teacher training, an immersion module is desirable in each example.

6 Monitoring/Evaluating Success

    Need to look at useage, attitudes to transmission and levels of

    transmission. There must be recognition within the education system for

    bilingual skills.

7 Trilingualism

    The Basque experience is interesting using the third language as a

    vehicle for status a marketing tool for the minority language.

    Friesland a small scale project whereby primary schools adopt English

    in the final years. Societal demands may result in it being introduced


    In Wales - because of the English language it is harder to market, as

    French/German/Spanish don’t share its status.

     Need to look at the Commission’s strategy for

     Mother Tongue + 2, and consider

     2 Mother Tongues + 2 instead.

     Definition of Mother Tongue an issue to raise on the website.

8 Study Visit

     Location Basque Country

     Date in the autumn

     Programme to be decided in conjunction with Lorea.


    Accessibility vital for the site creating an infrastructure for a language

    community online.

    5 sections have been included, Foras na Gaeilge being one of them.

    The directory a vital element of the website with links to 260 other


    The website gets 12,000 visitors each month. An e-newsletter is sent to

    all registered users of the website.

    During the development of the website the officers spent a lot of time

    poring over the internet looking at best practice in bilingual websites

    design. The website will be developed further, and Foras is consulting

    widely to this effect possible developments include video streaming, and

    audiofiles to bring the language alive. An advisory committee has been

set up with internal and external members to review he developments

    every 2 months.

    It was emphasised that media training is vital for staff in the frontline of

    language planning.

    10 Internet Site

    A description of systems vital for the site. A template provided in respect of the Welsh system needs to be adapted for the other members. No more that 5,000 words, following the headings of the template provided.

    Description of the system as it is.

Main target audience language planners, with parents as a lesser

    audience a short section at the beginning of each model description

    required for parents.

    Question and Answer section a general section for teachers and parents. Need to avoid minority/majority issues politically sensitive issues. Economical advantages important to list bilingualism in the workplace.

Cross referencing to other information available on the internet vital.

    Overarching names for the website

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