Immersion Education: Lessons from a Minority Language Context

Author: Pádraig Ó Duibhir

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Multilingual Matters
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The body of research in this volume offers a detailed account of the success of young immersion learners of Irish in becoming competent speakers of the minority language. Taking account of in-class and out-of-class factors, it examines the variety of Irish spoken by the pupils, the extent to which the Irish spoken deviates from native-speaker norms, the degree to which pupils are aware of and attempt to acquire a native-like variety and the extent to which issues of identity and motivation are involved. The results highlight the limitations of an immersion system in generating active and accurate users of the language outside the immersion setting and will help immersion educators to gain a greater understanding of how young immersion learners learn and acquire the target language. The findings are placed in the context of other one-way immersion programmes internationally with a particular focus on minority language settings, and make an important contribution not only to our understanding of the Irish issues, but how the Irish situation can be placed in a broader scholarly and socio-political context.

This book makes a substantial contribution to the literature on immersion education by exploring students' Irish language development and attitudes while proposing possibilities for change both within and beyond the classroom. Pádraig Ó Duibhir's welcome contribution is indispensable reading for anyone interested in understanding the full potential of immersion education.

Roy Lyster, Professor Emeritus, McGill University, Canada

Drawing on data from a wealth of studies along with his many years of experience as a successful teacher and acclaimed academic, Ó Duibhir presents an honest account of the current, changing status of the Irish language, the prognosis for its future, and the pivotal role of education. This fascinating volume is a must-read for anyone interested in the Irish language, minority language survival, bilingual education, language policy and planning, and/or applied linguistics.

Enlli Môn Thomas, Bangor University, UK

This book is an important addition to the body of research on immersion education. Pádraig Ó Duibhir, a respected academic and former practitioner in the sector, provides an insightful analysis of four research projects on the subject, bringing together both Irish and international perspectives and charting a way forward based on empirical evidence.

Anna Ní Ghallachair, Maynooth University, Ireland

[This book] will be a springboard for rich debate in the area of immersion education in Ireland (...) It will most definitely help inform future teacher education strategies and provide a valuable resource to immersion teachers and students and also second language acquisition researchers. The author's work has continued to strengthen the sector by providing a body of research that can now inform practice.

InTouch, Issue No 181, October 2018

Throughout this book, Ó Duibhir's significant experience of immersion education – as a pupil, a teacher, a principal, a lecturer and a researcher – is evident. It allows for an accessible, insightful exposition of the immersion education model in Ireland and internationally that would be difficult to achieve without having such a background. The book will serve as a useful text for researchers in immersion education and language revitalisation studies.

International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 2018

The body of research contained in this volume gives both an insightful and detailed account of the linguistic trajectory of immersion learners of Irish, pointing to challenges to, and limitations of immersion programmes in generating active and accurate users of the languages for the speech community.

Journal of Immersion and Content-Based Language Education 8:2

Pádraig Ó Duibhir is Deputy Dean and Professor of Education, Dublin City University Institute of Education, Ireland. He has worked as an immersion teacher and now researches teacher education and second language teaching, with a particular interest in the teaching of Irish as a subject and as a medium of instruction.


Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Immersion Education in Ireland – Origins and Current Context

Chapter 3: Language Learning in Immersion Education in Ireland and Internationally

Chapter 4: Design of Studies

Chapter 5: An Analysis of a Corpus of the Spoken Irish of All-Irish Pupils

Chapter 6: Pupils' Reflections on Their Communicative Performance in Irish

Chapter 7: Pupils' Use of Irish outside the Classroom

Chapter 8: Principal and Class Teacher Interviews Regarding Their Pupils' Proficiency in Spoken Irish or French

Chapter 9: Discussion



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