Gaelic needs immersion technique

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Tue May 9 13:49:06 UTC 2006

Sunday Herald - 07 May 2006

Gaelic needs immersion technique
By Paul Dalgarno

Creators of a new Gaelic teaching technique are to petition the Scottish
Executive to fund a series of full-time courses for adults across the
country. Representatives from Gaelic development charity Comhairle Nan
Sgoiltean Araich (CNSA) say their Total Immersion Plus (TIP) strategy can
reduce the years of study usually needed to learn a language to less than
200 hours. TIP involves ditching grammar books, exams and translation in
favour of a Gaelic-only language policy and role-play activities for
adults. It has been piloted successfully in part-time courses across
Scotland since last year. The technique could help train teachers for
Gaelic medium education (GME)  schools. Councils have an obligation to
provide GME where there is a reasonable demand. TIP will also be targeted
at those parents whose children receive GME but who dont themselves speak

The CNSAs chief executive, Finlay MacLeoid, has requested a meeting with
education minister Peter Peacock with a view to attracting funding for
more than 40 full-time TIP courses across Scotland. He described the need
for a rapid means of teaching Gaelic which saw speaker numbers fall to
below 60,000 between 1991 and 2001 as urgent. These courses enable us to
develop a very large number of Gaelic speakers in a short period of time
and will have major ramifications for linguistic education in Scotland, he
said. If the Executive is serious in terms of protecting Gaelic then they
need to go down this [TIP] road.

A spokeswoman for the Executive said any funding request from CNSA to
establish full-time courses would be considered on its merits. She added:
We are committed to securing the future of Gaelic and ensuring the
language survives and thrives.

More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list