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    Enhancing my Teaching of Irish-Language Vocabulary through the use of Stories and Storytelling

    Ní Ghiollagáin, Órla (2019) Enhancing my Teaching of Irish-Language Vocabulary through the use of Stories and Storytelling. Masters thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    The purpose of this self-study action research study was to improve my teaching of Irish vocabulary using stories. I felt my teaching lacked energy and did not reflect my values of hard-work, commitment and respect for Irish language and culture. I learned Gaeilge trí Ghaeilge easily and without fuss. I truly believe that with the right attitude, hard-work and correct teaching methods, anyone can do the same. Storytelling has long been used as a method to develop a young child’s imagination, engagement and language and that is why I decided to apply it to my teaching of Irish. My research was conducted in a suburban, upper-middle-class, co-educational primary school in Dublin which places a strong emphasis on Irish. The 23 Junior Infant children in my class, their parents and my critical friend all acted as participants in the research, with me and my practice as its focus. My chosen methodology was self-study action research as it is the only form of research that allows the researcher to put herself at the forefront of the study. I adopted a mixed-methods approach to data-gathering including assessing the children’s standard of Irish vocabulary both pre- and post-intervention, sending out a parental questionnaire, daily observations and recording my evolving thoughts, opinions and mindset in my reflective journal. I conducted the research in strict ethical fashion, maintaining validity and reliability at all times. My storytelling intervention was influenced by Blaine Ray’s (1998) Teaching Proficiency Through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS) theory. It used a well-known Irish storybook to teach specific vocabulary. There was a focus on repetition, questioning and creating a home-school link with parental involvement. The findings revealed an increase in engagement and vocabulary retention following the storytelling intervention. A clear desire to improve their own ability in the Irish language was evident from the parental questionnaires as well as emerging evidence of the effectiveness of using informal Irish throughout the day. I concluded that stories can indeed increase vocabulary retention and facilitate second language acquisition. The findings also highlighted the importance of using informal Irish throughout the day and the value of parental involvement. I conclude by acknowledging that the most important improvement arose within myself and my practice. I can confidently claim that my teaching of the Irish language aligns with my personal values and I now understand how I can instill joy in my teaching and the children’s learning of the Irish language.

    Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
    Keywords: Enhancing; Teaching; Irish Language Vocabulary; use; Stories; Storytelling; Froebel; Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education
    Item ID: 13689
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2020 16:58
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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