ERIC Number: ED339186
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Jun
Reference Count: N/A
Gaelic across the Curriculum? Parental Attitudes to Gaelic-Medium Education in the Western Isles. SCRE Spotlights 24.
A study surveyed parents (n=329) of 1989 and prospective 1990 first-year primary school entrants in Scotland's Western Isles concerning Gaelic-English bilingual education policy. Results indicate only 39% of 4- and 5-year-olds had two native Gaelic-speaking parents, although attitudes toward the language were very positive. Half the parents read Gaelic-language books to their children, although availability of such materials was an issue. It appeared most parents were moderately well-informed about school language policy, while some uncertainty about the distinction between Gaelic-medium and bilingual instruction was found. About 86% of parents would like their children to be bilingual even when they themselves are not. However, it emerged from interviews that parents understood bilingualism as the ability to speak Gaelic and English, not necessarily write and read them at the same level. About 71% supported the idea of Gaelic-medium education, but it was not clear whether these supported teaching of all subjects in Gaelic. Approximately half the parents surveyed said they would take advantage of Gaelic-medium instruction if offered. Fewer than one-quarter favored education entirely in Gaelic ending by the fourth year of elementary school, while 41% wanted Gaelic emphasized throughout elementary school. Recommendations are made tentatively in view of the study's limitations; however, it is proposed that Gaelic-medium education should continue, that its availability should be made clear to parents, that schools as an important source of Gaelic books should be stressed, and that research on various aspects of this curriculum should be conducted. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Scottish Council for Research in Education, Edinburgh.