Our sole mission is the promotion of spoken Gaeilge. It is our experience that people are naturally empathetic towards the language and many would like to (re)connect with it in a meaningful way. This is our first time to offer a course to adults.
The course is non-residential and classes will take place on our premises in Indreabhán. Classes will be held on Wednesday nights between 7:30pm and 9:30pm and on Saturday mornings from 10:30am to 1:30pm. A bus will depart from Galway Cathedral at 6:45pm and 9:45am on the respective days.
The dates are:
The cost is €200 and this covers tuition / feedback on recorded work / return bus to Galway / tea & coffee breaks.
A maximum of 15 learners per class. Class presentations lasting 30 minutes. All teachers are young native speakers from Indreabhán with extensive experience working with young adults on our summer courses. These same teachers have recorded the audio files embedded in our learning materials. All of the learning materials are represented in OIDE and also in handouts. Classes focus exclusively on spoken Gaeilge and require continued active participation. Each lesson has several follow-on tasks & exercises that will be will be undertaken on OIDE.
OIDE can be downloaded onto smart devices as well as desktops. Participants will receive detailed feedback on their recorded work. Participants will be expected to spend time each day on a range of follow-up tasks to classwork.
OIDE is a mobile platform that we are developing to deliver course materials. It focuses on functional, everyday Gaeilge as used by native speakers in Conamara. The play/record/playback process allows learners to listen as many times as they need to internalise the sounds, and then practice as often as necessary to hone pronunciation skills. The content is kept relevant with emphasis on the fundamentals of informal, social interaction. The simple Q and A format underscores the conversational approach with learning goals further supported by interactive exercises that use the target materials in context. The value of independent learning is that you can proceed at your own pace and you discover for yourself the correct form, pronunciation and intonation. Lessons have between 12-15 native speaker audios and the objective is to have an intensive “practice” session in listening, repeating, recording, listening back, noticing, rerecording and comparing.
Communication, interaction and proactive support are at the heart of all successful language learning programs. It may seem obvious but what you need to do is step outside your own comfort zone and reach out to new acquaintances. Be proactive – don’t wait for someone else to start a conversation and be willing to share your passions and talents. The bus from Galway offers opportunities for mingling and getting to know people and perhaps even to take a detour! We would also expect participants to engage in some project work and no Lurgan course is complete without producing a few music videos.
Ideally, participants should be accompanied by at least one learning partner (comhphairtí).Learning partners are acquaintances whose paths ordinarily cross and who are in regular contact. They offer the all-important opportunities for informal chat in the real world. Participants commit to conducting ALL one-to-one exchanges with learning partners as Gaeilge.
This is the crucial part of the Sé Seachtainí program – making space in your private/ personal life to informally/socially engage as Gaeilge. The more “learning partners” participants can routinely engage with the better.
So, now that you’ve made the pledge, how do you proceed? We recommend the 360° maximalist approach. This requires you to immerse yourself as fully in the language as you possible can. Do as much as you can in Gaeilge, with Gaeilge, for Gaeilge. Your brain naturally rejects the foreign sounds / constructions / syntax of a new language until you prove to it that it is something you really need, something that you will be using on a regular basis. If you give yourself an option of using Gaeilge or not, chances are that you will choose English. Your brain will choose to use what is simplest and requires less thought. Like acquiring any new skill learning Gaeilge requires strong will & motivation. You must consciously lock yourself outside your comfort zone and not allow yourself to step back inside for a while. Once you have decided on Gaeilge it is crucial to commit.
Children effortlessly learn language(s) without any formal instruction.
Adults also retain their hard-wired predisposition to language learning but due to self-consciousness and subdued sense of adventure language learning seems more arduous as we get older. We can benefit by revisiting how children learn language(s) and readopting some aspects of their learning approach.
Children explore and play with language without a sense of “fear or panic”. Functional fluency is their goal and they are generally lauded for their efforts. Adult learners are often hindered by being away too self-conscious and having an irrational fear of using the wrong word / afraid of being “wrong” etc. You must put yourself out there, initiating conversations, being fearless about bungling and mispronouncing words. Making loads of mistakes shows that you have stepped outside of your comfort zone and that you are truly using and practising the language.
Suggestion: Enquire, explore, experiment with the language with abandon
Children are unburdened by rules & grammar yet, they have no difficulty in mastering basic/common structures and everyday chit chat. Adult learners can be overly obsessed with rules and getting things “right” whereas focusing on the most commonly used conversational sayings/ sentences /interactions can be undertaken without any reference to grammar or rules. Emphasise communication and functional fluency above all else. The most common 1,000 words account for 80% of all spoken communication.
Suggestion: Value fluency over accuracy
Children speak as they think. Adult learners tend to translate their thoughts word for word from English. This habit of actively translating from English to Gaeilge instead of thinking automatically as Gaeilge is one of the greatest obstacles to acquiring the language. The sooner you cut out English completely the sooner you begin to think as Gaeilge. You can do this from the very first day.
Suggestion: Think as Gaeilge . Once you can speak & listen without thinking about it, you’re really hitting a high level.
Children prioritise language that is most relevant to their requirements/situations. Adult learners often spend too much time on explanations (usually in English) on how the language works. Conversation is King. Focus on becoming conversational. Working and practicing with real conversation leads to real progress. You don’t need to know everything right away as you can quite readily get by on the basics you already have while expanding your conversational skillset.
Suggestion: Prioritise functional, relevant dialogue that can be use from the get-go.
Social interaction & chit chat is the bedrock of language acquisition. Adult learners tend to over-emphasise the importance of “classwork & formalities” while failing to recognise the value of personal/informal dialogue. If there is one “secret” to acquiring/learning Gaeilge its this. “Hours and hours of informal chit chat with people who are willing to speak/converse with you”
Suggestion: The best possible outcome for you as a language learner, is for people to speak back to you.
Children naturally mimic the pronunciations, sound morphing & connected speech of their surroundings. This aspect of the language has always been absent from the school curriculum and as a result is deemed to be unimportant by most adults. Improving pronunciation isn’t just about sounding good, it changes the way you listen to the language and it helps you learn faster.
Suggestion: Getting your ears tuned to the sounds and rhythms of Gaeilge leads to accelerated learning.