A chairidean chóir,
We certainly missed seeing everyone at the festivals this year, but we hope you all had a beautiful summer.
We have not been idle! We started a new e-newsletter that we think is very good. If you are not on our email list, please write to us so you can receive the newsletter. Also, our curriculum continues to be refined, and our head teacher, Scott Morrison, spent a lot of the summer adding material to each syllabus. The curriculum gets more robust every year.
Now the 2020 – 2021 academic year is about to begin, and what a year we think it will be. We start with thirty-five students, and the first time we have taught the Advanced I course. Plus two of our advanced students are teaching beginner courses for the first time.
Though classes are now set, we are still taking registrations on a limited basis. For an overview of the 2020 – 2021 academic year: Gaelic School Calendar 2020 – 2021
For five years, Sgoil Gàidhlig experimented with language learning and community building formats. In 2018, Sgoil Gàidhlig’s teacher, Scott MacIlleMhoire (Morrison), completed a thorough re-design of the school’s online language modules based on the five year experience of Sgoil Gàidhlig, retaining the online teaching approach combined with our now quarterly cèilidh schedule and every-other-week in-person conversation sessions. We took this step because we believe it will lead to enhanced language learning in the context of a growing Gaelic language community in the Chesapeake region. Sgoil Gàidhlig is dedicated to cultivating new Gaelic speakers using methods that honor and perpetuate Gaelic culture and language.
Our curriculum is now divided into seven levels:
- New Beginners
- Advanced Beginners
- Intermediate 1
- Intermediate 2
- Advanced 1
- Advanced 2
Language lessons are provided once every other week for one and one-half hours, using Skype. You must provide your Skype alias when registering. The lessons are in a cyclical format consisting of eight ‘cycles’ of three lessons each of which introduce, practice, and review the same bits of information across all three classes. The units provide progressive, integrated, measurable content that prepares the student to move up levels with confidence. Each individual level requires about one calendar year to complete.
Each syllabus is based primarily upon the Gaelic grammar lessons found on the Taic.me.uk website. They are further enhanced by educational materials from Teach Yourself: Complete Gaelic, by Boyd Robertson and Iain Taylor, and other educational Gaelic odds and ends that Mr. Morrison has used over the years.
Our Approach: Developing Gaelic thinkers and speakers
Many different language learning systems emphasize either fluency or literacy. While few, if any, are purely one or the other, most emphasize one or the other. A strict emphasis on fluency in spoken language might lead to faster conversational ability, while a strict influence on literacy might produce conversational ability at a slower pace while grammatical or theoretical understanding of the language develops faster.
The pedagogical approach of Sgoil Gàidhlig attempts to balance fluency and literacy. While designed to foster conversational ability faster than we have achieved in the last five years and increase the likelihood that students will achieve confidence in conversational Gaelic, the new curriculum retains a core belief that understanding the grammar and the philosophy behind the language embedded in the grammar produces a deeper understanding of the nuances and mindset of the language when conversational ability is achieved. Each unit incorporates reading comprehension by using texts that are both of a conversational and, as the modules progress, a literary nature. The program overall will strive to strengthen the student’s understanding of meanings behind the grammar and vocabulary.
In all units we are striving to surface for the students the flavor, the character, mindset, thinking processes, and worldview of Gaelic and the Gael. Hopefully the result will be that we produce Gaelic thinkers as well as Gaelic speakers.
Tuition & Registration
We have not raised tuition this year, but have changed payment arrangements. Tuition for the year remains $360, including all classes, access to instructors for study assistance, and admission to student-only events.
- Pay 1/3 ($120) upon acceptance of the registration
- Pay 1/3 ($120) by 15 November 2020
- Pay 1/3 ($120) by 15 February 2020
To register and for further information about class logistics and making tuition payments, write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, physical address, email address, telephone number(s), Skype alias, and some information as to how you became interested in learning Gaelic, including prior study, if appropriate.
If you have questions about the program or which learning group is appropriate for you, please write to email@example.com
If you cannot commit to the online sessions, but are interested in the conversations, céilidhean, or other activities we may host, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will include you on our mailing list.