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Title: The acquisition of literacy in Gaelic-medium primary classrooms in Scotland
Author: Pollock, Irene
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis analyses the factors affecting the acquisition of literacy in Gaelic medium primary classrooms, including teaching techniques, availability of resources, and support for language development. In order to investigate this issue thoroughly, the background for the study includes an overview of the sociolinguistic situation of Scottish Gaelic, comparison to other minority language revitalisation efforts, discussion of the theories and practice of bilingualism and bilingual education, and an in-depth look at literacy acquisition, from perceptions of literacy and its value to the mechanics of reading in both a first and a second language. The core of the thesis involves extended observational data from seven case-study classrooms. The targeted population is Primary 1 to 3 pupils as this is the intensive period of reading instruction; the research focus is on literacy in Gaelic as the amount of English at this stage is negligible. Interviews and questionnaires involving education authorities, teachers, and parents supplement this data and emphasise the qualitative, ethnographic approach. The specific results are placed in the broader context of the Scottish education system and the Gaelic revitalisation movement. The analysis assesses the effectiveness of literacy acquisition in Gaelic-medium education and addresses some of the challenges related to further development. This thesis concludes that while significant progress has been made in the teaching of literacy in Gaelic medium education, there are several points that are cause for concern, including the nature of teacher training, the provision of sufficient and appropriate resources, and the amount of extra-curricular reading taking place. Examples of best practice from the case-study classrooms are provided as possible solutions to these problems.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available