New Brogues and Tongues

20 November 2017

St Mary’s University College recently hosted a Continuing Professional Development Workshop for staff and students entitled New Brogues and Tongues in our Schools: What’s the Craic with that?

Schools in the north of Ireland have become more linguistically diverse in the twenty-first century. From having pupils who were predominantly monolingual English speakers, and indeed for the most part speakers of the same local dialect, school intakes have diversified to include children who have grown up bilingual, others who arrived in an English-speaking environment at primary school and those who are newcomers at post-primary.

Professor Karen Corrigan (Newcastle University) and Dr Frances Kane (Ulster University) delivered the workshop. The aim of the workshop was to address pedagogic issues based on current research on multilingualism. It demonstrated that, while the new diversity can be challenging, it could likewise be seen as a resource to increase pupils' linguistic awareness and performance in language and literacy as well as modern languages. It can also feed into other strands of the curriculum, linked to elements that develop pupils as individuals as well as contributors to society.

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