Mismatches in Language Policy and Practice in Education: The Case of Gaelscoileanna in the Republic of Ireland

Coady, Maria; Ó Laoire, Murris
July 2002
Language Policy;Jul2002, Vol. 1 Issue 2, p143
Academic Journal
The purpose of this paper is to explore the link between national language policy and practice in Irish-medium schools, which are known in Irish Gaelic as Gaelscoileanna. The paper provides an overview of the state's language policy since 1922 to promote Irish by using the schools as the primary vehicle for policy implementation. Based on a recent study, the paper describes various changes in the Gaelscoileanna movement over time, including the students' linguistic profile, pupil to teacher ratio, available teaching aids and textbooks in Irish, and teachers' belief regarding the potential impact of the schools on language revival efforts. Findings from the study reveal a mismatch between national language policy and educational supports necessary for schools to most effectively implement their curriculum. They also reveal teachers' skepticism that schools can impact on Irish revival. This finding is relevant given the current directions being taken in Irish language policy.


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