Newletter #44: April 2019

Online EPV courses: Interview with Ciara Fagan

Ciara Fagan is a teacher at Educate Together National School in Greystones, County Wicklow. Last year, she undertook the Accuracy in Irish (Intermediate) for Primary School Teachers online EPV course with Gaelchultúr. Nuachtlitir Ghaelchultúir spoke to her recently to get her thoughts on the course.

1. Why did you decide to do the course?
I had been working as a teacher in England for several years when I decided to return to Ireland. I knew that I’d have to do the Scrúdú le hAghaidh Cáilíochta sa Ghaeilge (SCG), yet I had had little exposure to Irish since doing the Leaving Cert. I was trying, therefore, to brush up on my Irish and on my grammar in particular. Having looked at the various courses available, I thought that this one would suit me best.

2. What did you think of the course?
I found it quite challenging. As we all know, Irish grammar is very complicated and I was completely out of practice. Having said that, the layout of the course was very clear and different aspects of grammar were explained with great thoroughness. As a result, I was able to progress from lesson to lesson without too much trouble! The fact that each exercise was interactive was a big help, as was the instant feedback you got. When I wasn’t so happy with the score I got in an exercise, I was able to look back to gain a better understanding of it – and improve my score!

3. Which aspects of the course appealed to you most?
I thought that the forum was one of the best things about the course. This was where teachers shared ideas on how to teach grammar most effectively in the classroom. I learned a lot of things from other teachers; things that I use regularly with my own class. Regarding my own fluency, in a way the course laid a foundation for me. I managed to pass the SCG after it and then I did Gaelchultúr’s ten-week evening course Accuracy in Irish 1.

4. Would you recommend the course to others?
Yes. It think it’s a great help to teachers planning on undertaking the SCG. But I’d also recommend it to people who want to brush up on their Irish.

5. Do you intend doing another course on this year?
Yes. Now that the exams are behind me, I’d like to do a course for the pleasure of it. I’m a member of Gaelchultúr’s Book Club and really enjoy reading and discussing books with others. I’m planning to do another course with an emphasis on grammar. I often hear people complaining about grammar – after all, I’m a primary teacher! – but I think it’s hard to get a handle on a language if you don’t have the fundamentals of grammar.

6. What are your plans for the summer?
Last year I did a one-week course in Oideas Gael in the Glencolmcille Gaeltacht, which I really enjoyed. It was a great opportunity to use Irish informally and naturally with locals. As well as that, there was a range of enjoyable activities avaialbe, from walks and poetry evenings to céilís and music sessions. I’ve already booked my course and accommodation for this summer!

For further information about Gaelchultúr’s EPV course click here.