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Sunday 21 September 2014

Brid aims to take the pain out of learning Irish

BILL BROWNE

Published 05/09/2013 | 05:26

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Charleville teacher and now author Brid Ni Buachalla.

A NEW book from the pen of Charleville school teacher Bríd Ní Bhuachalla is set to help take the pain out of learning Irish.

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A NEW book from the pen of Charleville school teacher Bríd Ní Bhuachalla is set to help take the pain out of learning Irish.

Celebrated gaelgóir and veteran sports commentator Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh will join Bríd for a book signing at Easons in Mallow next Saturday from 3pm - 4pm, prior to its official launch at the GAA Complex in Carrigoon.

Generations of school children have cowered in fear at the very thought of leaning Irish, something that considerably hindered the revitalisation of our native tongue. Many say the key reason behind this is the manner in which Irish is taught within the school curriculum, something that Bríd is keen to address in her book.

Her experiences as a teacher have brought a grounded reality to the book, aptly entitled 'Simpli' which, refreshingly, bears no resemblance to the all too often fearful grammar tomes that many people will remember from their school days.

Bríd, an Irish teacher at the CBS Secondary School in Charleville, said her interest in the subject goes well beyond her day time job.

"Teaching Irish is not just my career, it's my passion. I used the experiences I have accumulated over the years through my engagement with pupils and their parents as a staring point for my book," she explained.

"I have reflected on how challenging learning Irish can be for some people and have wanted to write something that would serve as a 'scaffold' of sorts for people leaning Irish," added Bríd.

'Simpli' is her way of demystifying the obstacles to learning Irish that can stand all too often derail their interest in the Irish language.

"Through my own experiences I have identified these 'stick points' and taken a straightforward, and what I believe to be uncomplicated, approach to tackling them," said Bríd.

Of particular note is her insistence on not following a purely 'as gaeilge' format, which at first seems somewhat at odds with the traditional 'immersion always' thought process surrounding language teaching.

Bríd was keen to stress that she agreed with this method, and actively encouraged her students to take part in Gealtacht residencies and Irish summer camps.

"I am aware of how pivotal these experiences are for learners. However, I believe we should acknowledge English is a jumping off point before Irish language learning," she insisted.

"We can too often be slow to acknowledge the role of the language we already know in moving into second language acquisition," she added.

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