Why is the quality of our multilingual graduates so poor?

Posted in Teaching on June 15th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“For many Irish people of a certain vintage, France was an exotic overseas destination. Parents packed the kids into the car, drove on to the ferry and went to a campsite in Normandy. On Wednesday, almost half – 46% – of Leaving Certificate students sat Leaving Cert French, compared with the 14% who sat German and the 13% who sat Spanish …” (more)

[Peter McGuire, Irish Times, 14 June]


Number of students taking more than one foreign language is on the rise

Posted in Teaching on May 1st, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The number of students taking more than one foreign language for Leaving Certificate has jumped in the last two years. French is by far the most popular foreign language at Leaving Cert level, followed by German.A total of 1,063 Leaving Certificate students took two or more languages other than English or Irish last summer. This was 15% more than the 923 in 2015 and 925 the year before …” (more)

[Niall Murray, Irish Examiner, 1 May]

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Foreign languages at second level

Posted in Teaching on April 28th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – You report that the Government plans to increase the number of Leaving Certificate students taking foreign language subjects and to diversify the foreign languages available to second-level students (‘Chinese to be added to Leaving Cert curriculum’, April 19th) …” (more)

[Seamus Lennon, Irish Times, 28 April]

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Language strategy destined to fail unless teacher supply problems are addressed – Byrne

Posted in Teaching on April 19th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education Thomas Byrne TD says the system for training teachers in Ireland is in need of urgent reform. Deputy Byrne says the current system is antiquated as it is unplanned and uncoordinated which has given rise to a shortage of teachers for certain key subjects, particularly for foreign languages …” (more)

[Fianna Fáil, 19 April]

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All Junior Cert pupils to study a foreign language under new plan

Posted in Teaching on April 19th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“All pupils will study a foreign language for their Junior Cert by 2021 under ambitious new plans being announced by the Education Minister. The strategy also aims to increase the number of Leaving Cert Students studying a foreign language by 10% …” (more)

[Stephen McNeice, Newstalk, 19 April]

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It’s time for the NUI to drop the third language requirement

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on March 16th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“A new grading system and new CAO common points scale will be used for the first time in this year’s Leaving Certificate exams. The old ABC-style grades, 14 each at higher and ordinary level, have been abolished in favour of eight H (higher) and eight O (ordinary) grades. The change to the grading system is also bringing change to the CAO points scale …” (more)

[Billy Ryle, Independent, 16 March]

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Ditching a language will restrict college choices

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on March 16th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Choosing subjects for the Leaving Cert can be a difficult task for students and their parents. Concern stems from a need to ensure students do not rule themselves out of college courses they may wish to be considered for in the future …” (more)

[Aoife Walsh, Independent, 16 March]

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Languages Programme

Posted in Teaching on March 3rd, 2017 by steve

IrelandPaul Murphy (Dublin South West, Anti-Austerity Alliance): To ask the Minister for Education and Skills his views on a recent EUROSTAT report (details supplied) showing that Ireland has the second lowest level of foreign-language learning in schools in the EU27 and a rate significantly below the average; his further views on the decline since 2009; the measures he will take to improve resources for foreign language learning; and if he will make a statement on the matter …” (more)

[Dáil written answers, 2 March]

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Foreign languages and education

Posted in Teaching on August 18th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – In August 2014, former minister for education Jan O’Sullivan initiated a consultation phase on the theme of ‘Foreign Languages in Irish Education’. This strategy was supposed to be published in 2015 …” (more)

[Annelie Eberhardt, Irish Times, 18 August]


Ireland and European languages

Posted in Teaching on August 5th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“A chara, – Stephen Collins writes ‘Ireland’s overriding interest lies in the survival of the EU’, (Opinion, July 30th). During the week I heard comment on the radio that Ireland, now being the largest ‘mother tongue’ users of English, has a great opportunity in bringing in continental European students to develop their language skills …” (more)

[Andy Maguire, Irish Times, 5 August]

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‘Valid reasons’ for Irish-exempt students to take other languages

Posted in Teaching on June 13th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Many students who have received exemptions from studying Irish in the Leaving Cert on the basis of learning disabilities have valid reasons for studying other languages, according to campaigners …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 13 June]

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Leaving Cert: Irish-exempt pupils taking other languages

Posted in Teaching on June 8th, 2016 by steve

Ireland“Hundreds of pupils granted exemptions from studying Irish on the grounds of disability in the months leading up to the Leaving Cert had no difficulty studying other languages, figures show. The Department of Education allows students to be excused from studying Irish on the basis of learning disabilities, which include dyslexia …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 8 June]

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Discontinuing the Study of Irish would be a Profound Loss

Posted in Teaching on November 12th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“A recent decline in student quotas has affected several departments of the College. This is most evident in the decline in the number of students wishing to study languages, in particular Russian, Italian and Irish …” (more)

[Megan McDermott, University Times, 11 November]

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Times You Wish There Was a Word Other Than Research

Posted in Research on November 11th, 2015 by steve

Canada“There is something about research in modern languages (or English, as we used to call it) that sets many people’s teeth on edge, but usually for the wrong reasons. Let’s go back a few months …” (more)

[Alex Usher, HESA, 11 November]


Time to learn foreign languages

Posted in Teaching on November 10th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“A chara, – The article by Paul Gillespie highlighting Ireland’s foreign languages deficit is to be welcomed (‘Plurilingualism – why we’re so bad at picking up more languages’, Opinion & Analysis, November 10th). The author does well to remind us that only Ireland and Scotland share the dubious distinction of being the sole European states where foreign language learning is optional …” (more)

[Anna Ní Ghallachair, Irish Times, 10 November]


Ulster University language staff in Confucius Institute closure warning

Posted in Governance and administration on October 24th, 2015 by steve

UK“Modern languages staff at Ulster University warn its vice chancellor that its Confucius Institute may have to close …” (more)

[Robbie Meredith, BBC News, 23 October]

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Chinese courses to end at ‘Confucius’ university

Posted in Governance and administration on September 11th, 2015 by steve

UK“All Chinese language courses are to end at a university chosen to help foster closer ties between China and the north. Massive budget reductions mean Ulster University plans to shut down its school of modern languages. It is also ending stand-alone maths degrees as part of cuts that will see as many as 70 different courses go across six subject areas …” (more)

[Simon Doyle, Irish News, 11 September]

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Irish-language group worried about cut in university provision

Posted in Teaching on September 8th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“The Irish-language group, Conradh na Gaeilge, have criticised the University of Ulster for ending its full-time Irish degree on their Belfast campus. Due to cuts, the university announced last week that it had decided to close its School of Modern Languages which included French, Spanish, German and Chinese …” (more)

[Pól Ó Muirí, Irish Times, 7 September]

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Ó Donnghaile to meet University of Ulster on future of Irish degree

Posted in Governance and administration on September 8th, 2015 by steve

Ireland“Sinn Féin councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile said today he is to meet the Vice-Chancellor of University of Ulster about cuts to full-time Irish language degrees at the Belfast campus. Niall Ó Dhonnghaile said …” (more)

[Sinn Féin, 7 September]

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Modern languages school at University of Ulster Coleraine campus to close

Posted in Governance and administration on September 2nd, 2015 by steve

UK“The University of Ulster is set to close its School of Modern languages at its Coleraine campus due to budget cuts. Students who are due to begin their modern language degrees later this month will be able to complete them – and likewise existing students will be able to finish their degrees …” (more)

[Belfast Telegraph, 2 September]

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