About this paper

Appears in:
Page: 62 (abstract only)
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-697-6957-7
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2017.0031

Conference name: 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2017
Location: Seville, Spain

BRIDGING GAPS: TRAINEE MANDARIN TEACHERS FROM CHINA TEACH CHINESE TO EDUCATIONALLY DISADVANTAGED PUPILS IN AN IRISH LANGUAGE PRIMARY SCHOOL

C. Dawson

University College Cork (IRELAND)
Gaelscoil Pheig Sayers is an Irish Language medium primary school on the north side of Cork city in the South West of Ireland. The school is a designated DEIS school. 'Deis' is the Gaelic word for opportunity and has been seconded into English as a loose acronym for 'Delivering Equality of Opportunity in Schools'. The Irish Government's Department of Education and Training website explains that "the DEIS Plan 2017 sets out the Department’s vision for education to more fully become a proven pathway to better opportunities for those in communities at risk of disadvantage and social exclusion".

UCC (University College Cork), named Irish University of the Year by the Sunday Times for the previous two years, is situated on the south side of Cork city. The thriving School of Asian Studies in UCC began an ambitious MA programme in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language aimed at attracting high class students from China to come and study in Cork. One of the challenges facing the course team was to identify a suitable venue where students could carry out their TP (Teaching Practice). While Ireland is awakening to the importance of Chinese as a world language, it has yet to make significant inroads to the secondary education system where student language teachers normally carry out their TP.

Ionad na Gaeilge Labhartha (The Centre for Oral Irish Language) is an administrative department of UCC responsible for the promotion and teaching of Irish in the University and the region. Situated in the same building as the School of Asian Studies, both departments have cooperated in several joint projects over the past decade. Having been approached by the school manager and the course director for advice on the teaching practice, the centre decided to approach Gaelscoil Pheig Sayers with the idea that the Chinese students could carry out their TP with the fifth and sixth class pupils of the school; these are their final two years before moving on to secondary education. At the conclusion of sixth class these pupils will have achieved the first level of the HSK, the Chinese Proficiency Test.

The initiative, which is now in its second year, serves several purposes and bridges some crucial gaps which it is hoped will unleash new synergies. The fact that the children were already bilingual made them more open to the acquisition of a third language; conversely the acquisition of Chinese Mandarin will further enhance the children's experience of Irish and English. Being a DEIS school the initiative underpins UCC's committment to addressing issues of disadvantage and equality of opportunity in the region. The introduction of Chinese mandarin to this economically and socially depressed area of Cork has potential to enhance the prospects of further development in the future. On the other hand the young Chinese students are gaining exposure to an essential element to Irish culture and acquiring knowledge of a language of which most were previously unaware. It bridges the gap between first and fourth level education, between the privileged and the disadvantaged, between major and minor languages, between Sino and Celtic languages, and between China and Ireland.

This work will outline the early stages of the initiative, guage its level of success in its first year, and describe the plans to assess its effects and influences on the pupils and students going forward.
@InProceedings{DAWSON2017BRI,
author = {Dawson, C.},
title = {BRIDGING GAPS: TRAINEE MANDARIN TEACHERS FROM CHINA TEACH CHINESE TO EDUCATIONALLY DISADVANTAGED PUPILS IN AN IRISH LANGUAGE PRIMARY SCHOOL},
series = {10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2017 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-697-6957-7},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2017.0031},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2017.0031},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {16-18 November, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {62}}
TY - CONF
AU - C. Dawson
TI - BRIDGING GAPS: TRAINEE MANDARIN TEACHERS FROM CHINA TEACH CHINESE TO EDUCATIONALLY DISADVANTAGED PUPILS IN AN IRISH LANGUAGE PRIMARY SCHOOL
SN - 978-84-697-6957-7/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2017.0031
PY - 2017
Y1 - 16-18 November, 2017
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2017 Proceedings
SP - 62
EP - 62
ER -
C. Dawson (2017) BRIDGING GAPS: TRAINEE MANDARIN TEACHERS FROM CHINA TEACH CHINESE TO EDUCATIONALLY DISADVANTAGED PUPILS IN AN IRISH LANGUAGE PRIMARY SCHOOL, ICERI2017 Proceedings, p. 62.
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