Educational success of billigual school

To those who doubt the value of a billigual education, here’s one school that’s scored a spectacular success in the Republic.

  • maca

    Indeed, this is not the only success for Irish medium schools. An article from last year:
    “A QUARTER of Ireland’s 30 best-performing secondary schools are Irish-speaking
    “Eight schools teaching through Irish are in the top 30, alongside 18 private schools. The result is particularly remarkable because all-Irish schools account for only 4% of all secondary schools.”

  • Davros

    I was going to say – before Maca Chimed in – well done school and pupils, although I don’t see how this success proves that a bilingual education is “better” – who knows whether those children would have done as well if taught only in English ?
    There’s another factor – motivation. I would suggest that Parents who choose to send their childen to specialised schools, be they faith schools or schools teaching in Irish, tend to be more highly motivated and will tend to encourage their children more.

  • Asal_muice

    this is my first post here (great site btw) on a subject close to my heart.

    gaelscoileanna (irish medium schools outside the gaeltacht) are coming on leaps and bound, as the above survey show, but schools in the gaeltacht regions are being left behind; as a former student in a cbs in the gaeltacht, i can safely say that it lacked any proper educational value, and that i would have been better off in any other school in the country

  • Ringo

    There’s another factor – motivation. I would suggest that Parents who choose to send their childen to specialised schools, be they faith schools or schools teaching in Irish, tend to be more highly motivated and will tend to encourage their children more.

    Spot on Davros – the Gaelscoileanna tend to be found in urban centres and attended by middle class pupils who would be very well represented at university anyway.

  • Davros

    Ringo, I’m not sure if class is a major factor in the motivation stakes , as I know working class parents make sacrifices to send their kids to schools in Belfast etc. I should also have added that I would suggest that the teachers in these specialised schools are more motivated , not to say that there aren’t many superb and highly motivated teachers across the broad spectrum of educational establishments.

    One factor I would be interested in raising in respect of NI. Religion. I have often heard it said that for various reasons RCs tend to value education more highly for their Children than protestants.

  • cg

    Davros
    I think its case that for a lot of Catholic’s they never had the chance to go to university so they insist on there kids getting a good education.
    It’s also a case that for Catholics the only real chance to get ahead in life was a good education were for some middle-class elements of unionism it was more who you knew rather than what you knew.

  • Davros

    cg- I also read that the big difference was in working class attitudes, in that Protestants assumed that there would always be jobs and apprenticeships available for their kids.

  • maca

    “although I don’t see how this success proves that a bilingual education is “better” – who knows whether those children would have done as well if taught only in English”

    Well, studies into bilingualism do back this up though. Bilingual kids do tend to do better in exams than monolingual kids. There are studies on it though it would take me a while to find some links. There is a wealth of information on the web about bilingualism and the benefits it brings.

    “I would suggest that Parents who choose to send their childen to specialised schools … tend to be more highly motivated and will tend to encourage their children more.”

    I’m not so sure. I think all parents will try to motivate their kids anyway, I can’t imagine this making so much of a difference.

    Ringo
    “the Gaelscoileanna tend to be found in urban centres and attended by middle class pupils who would be very well represented at university anyway.”

    I disagree. One criticism a “friend” of mine had about the local Irish medium school was that it was almost all working class kids who went there. (my “friend” is a snob)
    I think these schools attract a mix, just like any school. In general!

  • peteb

    Any details on the class sizes – ratio of teachers to teachers?

  • Davros

    I think all parents will try to motivate their kids

    Sadly not the case.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that there aren’t advantages to bilinguality. My quibble was about the validity of using the success of one school to “prove” anything. If it turned out that the pupils of this school were number two with number one having been taught in English only it wouldn’t ‘prove’ that English teaching is an advantage over bilingual teaching.

  • peteb

    dammit. “Teachers to pupils”

  • maca

    Pete
    That was one thing I was going to mention, that Irish medium schools are generally smaller with possibly smaller class sizes. Though I have zero figures to show.
    Still, i’m a firm believer in bilingual education. As are the Finns. Some kids in Finland learn a foreign language in their first year of school!

  • maca

    Davros
    “My quibble was about the validity of using the success of one school to “prove” anything.”

    Oh yeah, you’re dead right. Once case proves nothing. In fact in ALL of the cases you can probably find reasons why the kids might be doing better. Although the studies do seem to back up the idea that bilingual education is best. There was an article quite recently on BBC about this I think.

  • Davros

    If I was feeling difficult, but I won’t go there 😉

    Siesta time!

  • George

    It’s interesting that it’s Trinity that so many of them go to considering UCD is just up the road.

    They are up against Oatlands, Mount Anville, Sion Hill, Blackrock College and Andrews in their immediate area so you can’t just write it off as middle-class kids. Why are they ahead of those schools, some of which are very elite?

    Colaiste Eoin and Iosagain also brought us such leading lights as Aonghus O’Snodaigh, Liam O’Maonlaoi and, of course, Sinead O’Connor.

  • Ringo

    Davros –
    I didn’t mean to directly relate the fact that they would be middle class kids with the motivation factor. I meant said that in addition to the motivation issue they are coming from families who’s kids tend to go to university anyway.

    Maca –
    there may be exceptions, and I accept that it may also be changing now that even more gaelscoileanna come on stream.

  • maca

    Go there Davros, go there 😉

  • idunnomeself

    Why use ‘admissions to TCD’ as the yard stick anyway?

    For some courses the brightest kids may go elsewhere?

    Is it still the case that irish speaking students who do exams in Irish get extra credit? could this explain it? also they have to do leaving cert Irish, and many kids in English speaking schools mess that one up, presume this doesn’t happen to Irish medium kids.

    Would also have to consider what Irish courses TCD runs and if these attract more applications from Gaelscoil.

    but on the other hand it’s certainly not ‘who you know’ with these kids, not like the Blackrock kids..

    cg, you said:
    ‘Davros
    I think its case that for a lot of Catholic’s they never had the chance to go to university so they insist on there kids getting a good education.
    It’s also a case that for Catholics the only real chance to get ahead in life was a good education were for some middle-class elements of unionism it was more who you knew rather than what you knew.’

    maybe thatis true for Catholics (although their chance of an education was equal to anyone else’s after from teh 60’s- John HUme’s generation).

    But I wouldn’t agree from teh Protestant point of View. Most middle class prods have working class roots, and they are obsessed with higher education. It’s a respectibility thing: they would rather their kids sat behind a desk and earned buttons than became a plumber. They are totally focussed on higher education- look at their protection of the grammar schools, the 11+, and the numbers who leave NI for England/ Scotland to go to uni.

    Maybe what you say holds true for some working class protestant communities, but it just isn’t true for the broader Protestant population.

  • Davros

    maca :Go there Davros, go there 😉

    Page 188, note 12 , who Needs Irish ….

    “In 1936 Shán O Cuív expressed the view that the emphasis on Irish as a medium of instruction in primary schools was leading to ‘a slowing of the mental development of pupils and an impaired power to express themselves or to learn.’ (Adrian Kelly, Compulsory Irish: Language and Education in Ireland 1870s–1970s, Irish Academic Press, Dublin, 2002, p. 48.)”

    ( You did ask! )

  • maca

    Davros
    To be honest I think Ó Cúiv’s comment is rubbish 😉
    It flies in the face of everything I have read on the subject.
    One of the key things here is the year, 1936. A lot of studies have been done on the subject since then. In fact it’s only really in the last 20 years that much of the work has been done and they have laid to rest many of the myths associated with bilingualism.
    There was a time when they thought being bilingual would lead to split personalities. 😉

    Some good information here: The Cognitive Advantages of Balanced Bilingualism

  • Davros

    There was a time when they thought being bilingual would lead to split personalities. 😉

    The Bearded One. I rest my case 😉

  • peteb

    Bilingual, Davros?

  • cg

    My friend’s father is a Clinical Psychologist and he argues that any child that grows up learning two languages learns them as If a native tongue and intermingles the two languages when speaking to someone who is the same. He also expresses his belief that bilingualism is very healthy for a child’s learning and the younger they start bilingualism the better.

    He would defiantly be a proponent of bilingualism within education.

  • cg

    “The Bearded One. I rest my case ;)”

    Any unsubstantiated attack on the leader will not be tolerated Davros 😉

    The flip side of that rule Davros is if you have no bilingualism (durkan) you end up with no personality 😉

  • Davros

    Despite all my teasing cg, I would support bi-lingualism and would be keen for it to be taught in all our schools. I come perilously close to agreeing with your leader (seen his latest speech ?
    invisible fadas all over the shop and a wonderful freudian typo) but for different reasons.

  • cg

    Can you send me a copy of his speech?

  • Davros

    LOL nice comeback over Durkan. But his daughter’s been given a decent name, that must surely count for something ? Like women with thin lips who use lipstick in Steinbeck…

  • Davros

    Ahem , it’s on your website 😉 Along with a useful contribution by Pat Doherty.

  • cg

    “But his daughter’s been given a decent name, that must surely count for something ?”

    It does and I wish the family hope and happiness in the future.
    Mark will have plenty of time to spend with his family in May 😉

  • maca

    “My friend’s father is a Clinical Psychologist and he argues that any child that grows up learning two languages learns them as If a native tongue”

    Depends how they learn them of course i.e. in school or at home. (Google for simultaneous/sequential, balanced/unbalanced bilingualism)
    Happpy to say my son is simultaneous & balanced (although his dad is a touch unbalanced but lets not go there).

  • cg

    I didn’t have the chance at an Irish (language) taught education but I intend for my children to have it.

  • Davros

    When did you start to learn Irish then ? Are your family speakers ?

  • maca

    “I didn’t have the chance at an Irish (language) taught education but I intend for my children to have it.”

    Neither did I. Blame the Brits! ;))
    I’m *hoping* for trilingulism for my son before he starts 2nd leved Ed. Though i’ll have to approach that with caution. Kids are like sponges, languages are no bother for them.

  • cg

    “Neither did I. Blame the Brits! ;))”

    I do for the way they treated the language a couple of hundred years ago but my educational deficit was my parents fault.

    “When did you start to learn Irish then ? Are your family speakers ?”

    In started to learn in secondary school. I am in no way fluent but I’m taking Irish language classes in queens in the evenings.
    My ma’s dad used to be fluent, not surprising as parts of South Armagh were almost gaeltacht area’s less than 100 years ago.
    Ma can speak bugger all but my old boys a dirty free stater so he’s fluent 😉

  • Davros

    I do for the way they treated the language a couple of hundred years ago

    That’s a tad unfair.

  • cg

    how so?

  • Davros

    It’s a lot more complex than a simplistic “It was the Brits that did for it “.

  • cg

    Agreed but I didn’t say they were the only party responsible for the fall in the language but were certainly the big players.

  • Davros

    I’m not even convinced it’s fair to say that cg.

  • cg

    We will agree to differ 😉

    I have a criminal exam in the morning so I am going to study for and hour and then….ah… leaba

    oíche mhaith

  • Davros

    Exams on a Saturday ? Good Lord!
    But good luck tomorrow.

  • cg

    “Exams on a Saturday ? Good Lord!”

    9.30 am

    Sick b******s

  • Fraggle

    a criminal exan cg, is that for queens or part of your SF training?

  • cg

    “a criminal exan cg, is that for queens or part of your SF training?”

    LOL