A PhD student at the Institute of Technology, Tralee, who was recently awarded a Doctoral Degree at the Conferring of Awards at the Brandon hotel, was the first student to fully complete a research study at this level through the medium of Irish at the college. Dr. Karen Ní Chlochasaigh, originally from Limerick but now a resident of Banna, Ardfert, conducted a pioneering research study at the ITT under the supervision of Professor Muiris Ó Laoire, on the effective learning of Irish in our education system today.
Commenting on the award Professor Muiris Ó Laoire said, “This is the first study of its kind to be carried out in relation to the learning of Irish based on best international practice of language teaching and learning. The study set out to provide insights and examples of the successful learning of Irish amongst 2nd and 3rd level learners of the language in an effort to promote a more effective learning of Irish in our schools. The research was carried out based on an innovative method of giving good language learners of Irish a platform and a voice to tell their stories and share their valuable experiences”.
According to Professor Ó Laoire in spite of common beliefs and negative reports on the teaching and learning of Irish, this study recognises that there are a significant number of students who manage to successfully acquire Irish through the school system and that a great deal can be learned from them. “It is anticipated that the study will be welcomed as a fresh perspective on the teaching and learning of Irish, benefiting both teachers and students of the language alike”.
Dr. Ní Chlochasaigh is a lecturer of Irish and Education at the University of Limerick.