Leading Learning in Irish



We would like to thank the Research Engagement Group members for their support and recommendations in compiling these resources for teachers.


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Irish-Research-PerspectivesLanguage, Learning and Teaching: Irish Research Perspectives

F. Farr, M. Moriarty (2012)

This collection addresses two main themes within the field of Applied Linguistics: language learning and teaching, and the study of language and its discourses in context. In order to ensure that the volume is relevant to as wide an audience as is possible, it is not theoretically focused; rather, each chapter deals with a specific real-world issue in context. The book provides an account of language problems that have arisen given the increasingly multilingual nature of Ireland, examines the current status of the Irish language and explores the potential for new technologies to enhance language learning and teaching.


Immersion-EducationImmersion Education: Lessons from a Minority Language Context

P. Ó Duibhir (2018)

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.


Teacher-DevelopmentTeacher Development for Immersion and Content-Based Instruction

L. Cammarata, T. J. Ó Ceallaigh (2020)

Teacher preparation and professional development endeavours are key drivers of successful immersion/bilingual (I/B) and content-based language education (CBLE) programs across a variety of models. This volume’s primary aim is to inform teacher education practice and stimulate additional research in the field by showcasing ground-breaking research on teacher preparation and professional development programs from around the globe as well as teacher educators' experience in these varied educational contexts. The contributions illustrate several points of access into classroom research and pedagogy and add insight into the complexity of teacher preparation and professional development in this dynamic and constantly evolving sector.


Exploring-LanguageExploring Language Pedagogy Through Second Language Acquisition Research

R. Ellis, N. Shintani (2014)

This book takes an innovative 'practice to theory' approach, with a 'back-to-front' structure. This leads the reader from real-world problems and issues, through a discussion of intervention and how to engage with these concerns, before finally relating these practical issues to theoretical foundations. Each chapter begins with a look at the pedagogical proposals found in teacher guides and then asks, ‘Do these proposals accord with what we know about how languages are acquired?' Pedagogical topics covered include teaching methods, syllabus design, explicit instruction, comprehension versus production-based instruction, task-based instruction, authentic materials, the role of the learners' first language in the classroom, error correction and catering for individual differences. Including a glossary of key terms and questions for discussion at the end of each chapter this volume assumes no prior knowledge of second language acquisition.


GlobalizingGlobalizing Language Policy and Planning: An Irish Language Perspective

M. Moriarty (2015)

The book examines the changing relationship between minority languages and language policy and planning in the context of globalisation, through an examination of the Irish language context. It demonstrates how localised practices are involved in the refashioning of the value of the Irish language.



To access the articles below, registered teachers must be logged in to the Teaching Council’s online library here.

A step-by-step guide to accessing the online library can be found here.


Early Reading Strategies in Irish and English: Evidence from Error Types.

Reading in a Foreign Language, 21(1), 22-36, Parsons, C., Lyddy, F. 2009.

This study examined the reading strategies children used in response to English and Irish words (presented in isolation), through an analysis of their oral reading errors. Children in their fourth year of schooling attending English-medium schools, immersion schools, and Irish-medium schools in Irish-speaking (Gaeltacht) regions participated. Overall, the children made significantly more real-word errors on the English task compared with the Irish task and significantly more non-word errors on the Irish task compared with the English task. These findings suggest that children learning to read in English and Irish may adopt different strategies when faced with unfamiliar words from each language.


Precision teaching through Irish: effects on isolated sight word reading fluency and contextualised reading fluency.

Irish Educational Studies, 37(3), 391-410, Mannion, L.  and Griffin, C. 2018.

The current study examines the impact of a three-week precision teaching (PT) intervention programme through the Irish language on a group of primary school pupils’ Irish reading fluency. The experimental group was exposed to the PT programme, which focused on isolated Irish vocabulary, while the control group experienced typical teaching of Irish. The results of a one-way multivariate analysis of variance and a series of dependent-samples t-tests revealed that in contrast to the control group, the experimental group exhibited a significant increase in both isolated sight word reading fluency and contextualised reading fluency following the intervention. This study emphasises the potential value of utilising PT to aid second language learning, not only for increasing isolated sight word reading fluency, but also for enhancing contextualised reading fluency.

The following articles are not available through the Teaching Council’s online library, but are freely available through open access databases via the links provided:


The challenges of teaching maths in Irish in Irish-medium education.

Irish Educational Studies, MacKenzie, A., O’Keeffe, J., Thurston, A., O’Neill, N. 2022.

Educating children in an immersive language setting, particularly in a minority or endangered language, is still regarded as disadvantageous to the learner, and that bilingual language education will hinder academic attainment, including maths. We present findings from thematic interviews with 11 primary teachers’ perceptions on the challenges of teaching maths in Irish, and how to help the sector develop language skills in, and resources for, teaching maths in the primary curriculum in Northern Ireland. The challenges that emerged from the thematic interviews, include finding teachers with the requisite language skills to teach maths, training and support for Irish-speaking maths teachers, and how children can acquire the right kind of fluency to engage in maths learning.


Actualising Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) in Irish-medium education; why, how and why now?

Irish Educational Studies, Mac Gearailt, B., Mac Ruairc, G., Murray, C., 2021.

A core imperative underpinning this article is to explicate a strong case for the connection between Irish-medium education and international research on Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), a field that encompasses the cognate area of immersion education best practice and draws on the theory and practice of language acquisition, teaching and learning. The authors contend that if the language learning outcomes of students in Irish-medium education, particularly at the post-primary level, are to be maximised, now is an opportune time, if not the last chance, to truly actualise CLIL.


A longitudinal study of early reading development in two languages: comparing literacy outcomes in Irish immersion, English medium and Gaeltacht schools.

International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 19(5), 511-529, Parsons, C. and Lyddy, F. 2015.

Schools in Ireland vary in how they introduce reading in the two official languages, Irish and English. There is particular variability within immersion (Irish medium) schools. Some introduce Irish reading first (IRF) and others English reading first (ERF). Comparing the Irish-medium groups on English reading, the Gaeltacht group initially lagged behind the others, but there was no difference by the fourth year of schooling. These findings suggest that the language in which reading is formally introduced is not critical to later reading attainment. Furthermore, teaching through Irish was associated with Irish language advantages, without detriment to English reading skill as measured here.


Fluency in Reading Irish as L1 or L2: Promoting High-frequency Word Recognition in Emergent Readers.

International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 10(4), 471-493, Hickey, T. 2007.

 In this examination of fluency, Ehri's theory of word recognition development is considered in relation to some of the reading mistakes of young L2 readers of Irish. A brief outline of Irish orthography presents some of the difficulties children encounter when learning Irish reading. The presentation of the most frequent Irish words in a special corpus of books aimed at early readers of Irish allows a consideration of ways of promoting deeper analysis of these words. This is what facilitates automatic and accurate word recognition and underpins the decoding skills that make independent reading in the L2 less laborious and more effective. 


Developing resources for translanguaging in minority language contexts: A case study of rapping in an Irish primary school.

Language Culture and Curriculum, 30(1), 1-15, Moriarty, M., 2016.

This article provides an analysis of a study on rap as a resource for a more flexible approach to the teaching of Irish. The data show that the use of transglossic resources does foster a more positive ideological position for the language both in the classroom and in the students’ social environment. Also, it demonstrates the capacity of rap to provide a space in which even the most limited Irish language resources can be mobilised.


Language teaching and learning in Ireland: 2012–2021.

Language Teaching, 56(1), 41-72, Batardiére, M., Berthaud, S., Catibusic, B., Flynn, C., 2023.

This article reviews research on language teaching and learning in Ireland published during the period 2012–2021 and discusses relevant work disseminated primarily in peer-reviewed journals (national and international), as well as in books, commissioned reports and chapters in edited volumes. The research and policy documents presented concern the teaching and learning of Irish, English and Modern Foreign Languages as second and/or additional languages across all levels of education. They address language teacher training contexts as well. This review of research demonstrates the extent to which recent inquiries in these domains have advanced knowledge and practice in the Irish context and have also informed the international research community more generally.


An explicit-inductive approach to grammar in Irish medium immersion schools.

Language Awareness, 26(1), 1-22, Ní Dhiorbhain, A., Ó Duibhir, P., 2016.

This article focuses on qualitative self-report data from a mixed-methods study which investigated Grade five and six (n = 274), 11–12-year-old, Irish-medium (IM) immersion students’ improvement in linguistic accuracy in response to an explicit-inductive approach to form-focused instruction (FFI). A series of typographically enhanced PowerPoint slides were designed to explicitly draw students’ attention to the genitive case in Irish over a four-week period. Students engaged in collaborative meta-talk with teacher and peers to construct rule-based knowledge and they recorded their findings in a reflective language journal. Student feedback indicates the potential effectiveness of an explicit-inductive approach to improve student language awareness and grammatical accuracy in immersion education.


Articles/ Research Publications in Irish


Understanding Irish Spelling: A handbook for Teachers and Learners – Tuiscint ar Litriú na Gaeilge: Lámhleabhar do Mhúinteoirí agus d’Fhoghlaimeoirí.

COGG, Stenson, N., Hickey, T., 2019.

This book (available in both English and Irish) considers the challenges and benefits in teaching Irish reading to learners. Chapters 2 and 3 explore teachers' experience of teaching reading in Irish, and the importance of explicitly teaching beginners how to decode Irish orthography. Chapters 5 to 7 look first at the relationship of sound to spelling in Irish consonants and vowels, and then at the relationship of spelling to sound, and offers guidelines for teaching consonant and vowels spellings. Chapter 8 considers exceptions and dialect variations, as well as patterned irregularities. Chapter 9 presents thirty exercises that teachers can adapt in short lessons that help children to handle the decoding of words in Irish more accurately and systematically. This book can be downloaded from: https://www.cogg.ie/wp-content/uploads/Understanding-Irish-Spelling.pdf  (English version) https://www.cogg.ie/wp-content/uploads/Tuiscint-ar-Litri%C3%BA-na-Gaeilge-1.pdf (Irish version)


An Tumoideachas: Deiseanna agus Dea-chleachtais.

COGG, Ó Ceallaigh, T., Ó Laoire, M. 2021

This booklet, published in 2021, is a collection of selected papers from the Second All-Ireland Research Conference on Immersion Education, organised by T.J. Ó Ceallaigh and Muiris Ó Laoire.


Anailís ar na hacmhainní reatha teagaisc agus foghlama do pháistí a bhfuil riachtanais bhreise oideachais acu sa chóras lán-Ghaeilge agus Gaeltachta.  

Gaeloideachas, Nic Aindriú, S., Ó Duibhir, P., 2022.

Sa taighde seo a choimisiúnaigh Gaeloideachas, déantar imscrúdú ar na hacmhainní measúnaithe agus teagaisc atá riachtanach do scoileanna lán-Ghaeilge agus Gaeltachta chun freastal cuí a dhéanamh ar scoláirí a bhfuil riachtanais bhreise oideachais acu. 

This research, commissioned by Gaeloideachas, investigates the assessment and teaching resources required for Irish-medium and Gaeltacht schools to cater appropriately for students with additional educational needs.


Ag tacú le daltaí a bhfuil riachtanais speisialta oideachais acu i scoileanna Gaeltachta agus lánGhaeilge.

COGG, Nic Aindriú, S., Connaughton-Crean, L., Ó Duibhir, P., Travers, J., 2022

Is ar mhaithe le díriú ar riachtanais mhúinteoireachta agus mheasúnaithe de chuid múinteoirí bunscoile agus iar-bhunscoile scoileanna Gaeltachta agus lán-Ghaeilge atá ag plé le daltaí a bhfuil riachtanais speisialta oideachais (RSO) acu a leagadh amach an lámhleabhar seo go príomha. Bunaíodh ábhar an lámhleabhair ar mheasúnú a rinneadh ar riachtanais na múinteoirí seo maidir le freastal ar RSO de chuid daltaí atá ag foghlaim trí mheán na Gaeilge mar dhara teanga nó mar mhionteanga. Is trí shuirbhé (U=135 rannpháirtithe) agus agallaimh leathstruchtúrtha (U=15) a rinneadh measúnú ar na riachtanais sin. Is iad seo a leanas na príomhthéamaí a tháinig chun solais sa taighde seo:

  • aithint na ndaltaí a bhfuil RSO acu,
  • measúnú trí Ghaeilge,
  • idirghabhálacha ar mhaithe le freastal ar riachtanais na ndaltaí,
  • úsáid áiseanna agus oideolaíochtaí ionchuimsitheacha sa seomra ranga.


Feasacht teanga an mhúinteora tumoideachais: Préamh agus guairne an chleachtais.

Léann - Iris Chumann Léann Na Litríochta, 9, 89-102, Ó Ceallaigh, T.J., Ní Chathasaigh, C., 2021.

Tá trí shainréimse eolais i gceist le feasacht teanga múinteoirí sa tumoideachas – úsáid teanga; eolas faoin teanga; agus saineolas oideolaíoch i dtéarmaí na sprioctheanga sa chomhthéacs ábharbhunaithe.  Bíonn na réimsí sin ag idirghníomhú lena chéile agus téann siad i bhfeidhm ar a chéile ar bhealaí ar leith, rud a mhúnlaíonn agus a chumasaíonn acmhainn an mhúinteora tumoideachais ina dhiaidh sin chun spriocanna teanga agus gníomhaíochtaí a chruthú ina ndírítear ar riachtanais forbartha na bhfoghlaimeoirí tumoideachais agus, ag an am céanna, ina dtugtar aghaidh ar spriocanna teagaisc an ábhair féin.  Dhealródh sé, mar sin, gur cheart go mbeadh feasacht teanga sa tumtheanga mar bhonn agus thaca ag cleachtais teagaisc an mhúinteora sa tumoideachas.  Ach ní mar sin a bhíonn i gcónaí, áfach.  Sa pháipéar seo, tugtar spléachadh ar an litríocht a bhaineann le feasacht teanga an mhúinteora tumoideachais.


Taighde ar Dhea-chleachtais Bhunscoile i dtaca le Saibhriú/Sealbhú agus Sóisialú Teanga do Dhaltaí arb í an Ghaeilge a gCéad Teanga

Maoinithe ag an gComhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta, Ní Shéaghdha, A., 2010

This research focuses on good practice in primary school settings as regards the enrichment/ acquisition and language socialisation for students for whom Irish is their first language.


1. Teagasc agus Foghlaim Ar-líne agus As-líne – Oideachas Trí Mheán na Gaeilge

The seventh webinar in the Teaching Council’s Learning for All webinar series was called 'Teagasc agus Foghlaim Ar-líne agus As-líne – Oideachas Trí Mheán na Gaeilge'. It was streamed live on Tuesday, 19 May 2020 at 12pm.

The webinar was chaired by Phil Fox, Leas Stiúrthóir, An Chomhairle Mhúinteoireachta, and our panel included:

  • Seosamh Mac an Iomaire, Ceannaire Foirne Gaeilge don tSeirbhís Um Fhorbairt Ghairmiúil do Mhúinteoirí

  • Muireann Ní Mhóráin, Príomhfheidhmeannach, An Chomhairle um Oideachas Gaeltachta agus Gaelscolaíochta

  • Caoilfhionn Ní Ghoill, Coláiste Naomh Éinne, Cill Rónain, Inis Mór, Co. na Gaillimhe

  • Deirble Nic Conghamhna, Príomhoide Scoil Neasáin, Baile Hearman, Baile Átha Cliath 5

  • Lorna Ní Choistealbha, Gaelscoil Mhic Amhlaigh, Cnoc na Cathrach, Gaillimhe

The Webinar and timings and a copy of the Powerpoint are available to access. 


2. Childhood Bilingualism 

The Teaching Council hosted its research webinar on 6 February 2019 in which the theme of Childhood Bilingualism was discussed by the following panellists:

  • Professor Padraig Ó Duibhir (Deputy Dean and Director of International Relations at Dublin City University (DCU) Institute of Education)
  • Dr Francesca La Morgia (Assistant Professor in Clinical Speech and Languages Studies at Trinity College Dublin and the founder and coordinator of the Irish Research Network in Childhood Bilingualism)
  • Dr Bozena Dubiel (Lecturer and researcher in Humanities at TU Dublin-Blanchardstown Campus)

The Webinar and timings are available to access. 


Research Conducted in Ireland

The Teaching Council supports teachers engaging in and with research through the John Coolahan Research Support Framework. When research projects are complete, the Council publishes short summaries on its website.

Below are some of the summaries which relate to the theme of Leading Learning in Irish.

  • The Challenges and Opportunities in Setting up an Aonad Lán-Ghaeilge in a DEIS Inner City School (Read final report) Research by Seán Ó Broin, Phil O' Flynn, and Neil Creedon

  • Irish Research Network in Childhood Bilingualism and Multilingualism (Read final report) Research by Dr Francesca La Morgio, Lorraine Connaughton Crean, Simon Rouse and Duana Quigley

  • A Mixed Method Exploration of Teachers’ Perceptions of the Primary Language Curriculum and Supports Teachers have Received to Aid its Implementation (Read final report) Research by Eoin Mac Domhnaill

  • Cooperative Learning in the Language Classroom - Can it improve the oral competency of the students? (Read summary report) Research by Eileen Butler


Additional research conducted in Ireland


Effective Language Teaching: A Synthesis of Research 

NCCA, Report No. 13, Harris, J., Ó Duibhir, P., 2011

The purpose of the research was to identify, evaluate, analyse and synthesise evidence from Irish and international research about language teaching and learning in order to inform discussion about language in the Primary School Curriculum, and in particular the teaching of Irish and additional languages. The key findings relating to effective practice in language teaching that emerged from the synthesis study are corrective feedback, Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), intensive language programmes, orientation of language programmes – communicative or analytical approaches – and the importance of teacher factors, and the importance of second language (L2) literacy development.


Towards an Integrated Language Curriculum in Early Childhood and Primary Education (3 - 12 years),

NCCA, Report No. 16, Ó Duibhir, P., Cummins, J., 2012.

This report is structured around the following four key research questions:

  1. How can the idea of an integrated language curriculum be defined?
  2. What are the key principles of language learning and development which should underpin a language curriculum for children aged three to 12 years?
  3. Where is the evidence for it in policy and practice? What are the expected outcomes by eight years of age for children’s learning and development in the different language learning contexts described in the background to this research?
  4. What kinds of structures are implied in an integrated curriculum for children’s language learning from three to 12 years, and how would these structures accommodate the different language learning contexts described in the background to the research?

Other Resources to support teachers

1. Eleathanach

Eleathanach is a reading aid available in Irish every Monday free of charge from the Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education, National University of Ireland, Maynooth. This electronic resource is full of domestic and international news items of interest to younger readers who then could further investigate them as Gaeilge. Eleathanach is aimed at fifth and sixth classes in primary school but is provided in a Microsoft Word document which allows primary as well as early-secondary teachers to edit it to suit the reading level of their own class.


2. Podcast: In conversation with Dr. T.J. Ó Ceallaigh, Director of Taught Postgraduate Studies in Education at Mary Immaculate College (MIC), University of Limerick.

Podcast date: March 2022

In this episode Phil Fox, Acting Director of The Teaching Council is joined by Dr. T.J. Ó Ceallaigh, the Director of Taught Postgraduate Studies in Education at Mary Immaculate College (MIC), University of Limerick for a conversation about promotion of the Irish language, hopes for the language going forward, digital education and much more!

This podcast along with all our other podcast episodes are available on our website.

*The Teaching Council provides registered teachers with free access to an online library in order to enhance their access to educational research, thereby supporting their professional learning. The Teaching Council does not accept responsibility for the accuracy or integrity of journals, articles, ebooks, citations and related webpages or material accessed via these resources. The inclusion of these resources does not imply Teaching Council endorsement of any products, services, views or information described or offered in any such articles, ebooks, citations and related webpages etc.