A virtual teach meet of heritage language teachers in Ireland
This teach meet brings together professionals involved in the teaching of complementary schools/Saturday or Sunday Schools, so those who teach heritage languages outside the formal education system in Ireland. The goal of this network is to support each other, share ideas and resources and to get inspired by the practice of others.
During the school closures due to Covid-19 these meetings will happen online and they will focus on delivering heritage language education via online channels.
A link to an online meeting will be sent to those who register for the event.
Register here: www.eventbrite.ie
On the 11th of November 1918, Poland regained its independence after it disappeared from the map of Europe for 123 years. Even though we practically didn’t exist as a country, Polish people felt strongly about maintaining their language and culture and often risked their lives speaking Polish at home, reading Polish books, and setting up secret schools for new Polish generations.
Reinstating the country was a long process which cost both time and the lives of thousands of soldiers who died in the many years of fighting.
November is a very important month for the Polish community who live in Ireland, Poland and abroad. Each year, 57 Polish complementary schools across Ireland, mark this special anniversary with a variety of events.
The pupils in one such school, SEN, located in Dublin 7, participated in numerous projects as part of the celebrations. Students from preschool level up to Leaving Certificate sang the National Anthem together and teams from older classes tested their history knowledge in a game of Kahoot.
We also had a visit from the Polish comic book illustrator, Pawel Wyrzykowski who presented his work from the Polish Institute of National Remembrance and then led a history comic book writing workshop with a group of pupils. Younger children took part in some coding and at the end of the day, parents joined us for a 1918 metres run.
Overall, it was a wonderful day that promoted awareness and pride in our Polish heritage and roots. Some people assume that attending school on a Saturday must be difficult for children and the teachers but as you can see in the video, it was actually a lot of fun!
Agnieszka Matys Foley
Deputy Principal and Education manager
Polish Saturday School SEN (a Dream) Dublin 7
The second conference on heritage language education in Ireland hosted by Mother Tongues took place on 2nd November 2019 in the Teachers’ Club.
It was a very inspiring event, filled with informative talks and presentations of projects as well as hands-on workshops on teaching techniques. We hosted over 60 teachers and representatives of complementary schools based in Ireland. Some of the languages of the attendees included Lithuanian, Polish, Tamil, Dutch, Mandarin Chinese, Croatian, Russian, Portuguese, Italian and French.
This conference, now in its second year, provides the opportunity for teachers to network, share experiences and upskill. Teaching heritage languages requires an incredible amount of dedication and creativity, as it consists of teaching language and literacy skills to children who often already have fluency in the language because they use it at home. It is different from teaching a first language, and it is different from teaching a second language, too! The real challenge that all teachers share lies in the diversity of skills of the students. In addition, children attend these classes outside of normal school hours, and teachers need to keep them motivated and passionate about the “extra work” required to develop strong literacy skills in the heritage language. Most of the teachers working at the weekend to support heritage languages do so because they love teaching and they are keen to children link to their heritage through language. Many of them teach on a voluntary basis and do so out of passion for their language and for children.
At Mother Tongues we know that heritage language teachers need ongoing support
, so we have introduced a membership
scheme which allows teachers to participate in three professional development sessions throughout the year. By becoming members of the heritage language schools network, teachers and schools join a group of like-minded people who are keen to network, upskill and share ideas and resources for heritage language teaching.
All information about this new initiative you can visit mothertongues.ie/for-heritage-language-schools