Bríd enrolled her students in Bitesize Irish

Discover why she uses our online lessons, and how you can too.

As part of our early launch, we offered free access to Bitesize Irish for study groups. This class in Perth, Australia took up the offer, and they have been adding new students ever since. Read why their voluntary teacher, Bríd Higgins, gives Bitesize Irish to her class.

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Bríd, you teach Irish Gaelic in Australia; how come you started teaching the language?

I had been to a Scoil Samhraidh [Irish language summer school] in the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales (NSW), Australia in 1995 and again in 1997 in Carcoar, NSW during which time I renewed my interest in revising my school Irish (1960s).

About ten years ago Comhaltas in Perth asked me to teach a class on Monday nights which I did for a few years until I went overseas for a couple of years in 2004. (Comhaltas is an international organization set up to encourage the recognition and growth of our Irish culture in music, song, dance and the spoken word.) Two years ago I again started up the Irish classes under the umbrella of Comhaltas.

What do your students love about Bitesize Irish?

I know that students in the other two classes also work on Bitesize at home. All students have commented to me about how difficult pronunciation of Irish words is and they love being able to hear and repeat the words and phrases on Bitesize (with native speaker pronunciation) as often as they wish or need to.

The students are able to build up a good store of vocabulary. They also love the fact that the lessons are short and to the point. The topics covered fit in very well with the Communicative learning approach and the grammar lessons provided are clear and easy to follow.

Rang Gaeilge
The nice big Irish Gaelic class in Perth, Australia.

Where are your classes based? How long have they been running?

The classes are held at the Irish Club in Subiaco, Perth, Australia on Monday nights 7-8pm February-December. Comhaltas have traditional music classes and set dancing on the same night. Irish classes have been running since May 2009.

Why do your students take up Irish Gaelic in the first place?

Students take up the language for different reasons:

All are adult learners. At the beginning of 2010 we started another class for total beginners, now requiring two teachers. By the next year we had three classes running with three teachers, roughly Bunrang (basic class), Meanrang (middle class) and Ardrang (advanced class). All teachers are voluntary.

Irish language teacher Bríd, teacher of Irish Gaelic.

You have enrolled your students in Bitesize Irish. How do you use the lessons for your class?

All of our students have enrolled for Bitesize Irish and work through the lessons at home in their own time. In my Ardrang (advanced class) I try to use the Communicative approach to language learning as much as possible. As the classes are only one hour long, there is not much time to teach grammar so I use Bitesize as a homework tool. Also as revision to refresh topics we have already covered.

Why would you recommend Bitesize Irish to someone who is not lucky enough to have a local class?

Bitesize is very useful for students learning without access to a class. It starts off with simple introductions and then progresses through everyday topics such as food and drink, pastimes, shopping, weather, family, etc., which enable students to build up vocabulary and have simple conversations.

What one tip would you give to people wanting to start learning Irish Gaelic?

Find a class that puts more emphasis on listening and speaking Gaelic rather than reading and writing. If you don’t have access to a class, then the internet is an ideal way to make connections.

How can someone join your class in Perth?

Monday 7-8 pm at the Irish Club, Townshend Road, Subiaco, Perth, Australia.
Tel: Brid 9458 5603 or Maire 0417 918 458

Bitesize is an excellent program not only for total beginners but also for those who want to brush up their school Irish.

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