It’s time to stop blaming Peig Sayers.

It’s time to stop blaming Peig Sayers.
Primary Principals despair over future of Irish Language
As we celebrate 100 years since the declaration of an Irish Republic, the health of the Irish Language gives little cause for cheer according to a recent survey conducted by the Irish Primary Principals’ Network (IPPN).
IPPN members will convene this weekend for its Annual Conference entitled ‘100 Years of Leadership’ in City West Hotel with over 1,100 school leaders expected to attend from a total of 3,300 primary schools in the 26 counties.
The vast majority of Irish school children spend up to 14 years learning the language yet a huge percentage leave the education system unable to speak the language with any great confidence or fluency. Too many children say they ‘don’t like’ Irish. As educators, we have to ask the question- why?
A recent survey of  IPPN members reveals that only half of school leaders believe children transition from primary school having achieved the curricular objectives with 7 in every 10 principals feeling that a radical overhaul of the teaching of Irish is required. There is also a feeling among principals (40% of respondents) that there is no clear strategy for the teaching of the subject.
Even more alarming is the fact that close to 60% of principals feel that teaching competencies in the subject fall short of the required standards.
In his conference address, Mr Sean Cottrell, Chief Executive of IPPN, will outline a strategy intended to arrest the decline of our native language and bridge the ever widening gap in our cultural identity.
The IPPN leader proposes that conversational Irish should be the full focus of a child’s 8 years in primary school. He suggests that the development of reading and writing skills should be deferred until children have secured competency in aural and oral skills. He also suggests that academic Irish at second level becomes an optional subject.
Mr Cottrell states ‘There is passion amongst teachers and principals for the teaching of Irish but passion is not enough. A new vision and radical strategy is needed. Our vision for the Irish language can be summed up in one word-fluency’
Mr Cottrell believes that teaching the language through fun and games and integrating with subjects such as Drama, Music and PE would greatly reduce the dislike factor among primary schoolchildren.

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