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MIC lecturers receive European Language Label Award MIC lecturers receive European Language Label Award

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MIC lecturers receive European Language Label Award

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Martina Ní Fhátharta and Seán de Brún, MIC lecturers receive European Language Label Award in recognition of their interactive on-line Irish language programme, entitled Bua na Cainte, which has revolutionised the teaching and learning of the Irish language in Primary Schools.

The European Language Label is an annual event coordinated by the European Commission and managed in Ireland by Léargas.  According to Dr. Céline Healy, Chair of Jury, European Language Label 2015, said “The European Language Label recognises creativity and innovation in improving the quality of language teaching and learning. It is awarded to projects that use and develop innovative ways of motivating and supporting learners in their language learning”.

“The 2015 winning projects demonstrate creative thinking about language teaching and learning, leading to improved teaching provision and learner achievement. They highlight inspiring initiatives that motivate and support people of different ages and in different contexts to embrace the challenge of learning another language”.

Launched in May 2014 Bua na Cainte is the only fully interactive Irish language programme, using innovative digital resources, for primary school children in Ireland.  This new approach to Irish language learning contains three major features; the online feature, the Teacher’s Book and the Children’s Book.


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The judging panel was suitably impressed with the programme saying: “This project has a highly integrated ICT element which uses technology as an effective teaching and learning approach. Considering the linguistic diversity of Irish primary schools, this project and its materials could be an excellent resource for parents who do not have knowledge of the Irish Language”.

Continuing they said “Because of its transferability to contexts outside of formal school settings, this project could have potential to be used in a range of informal language learning settings”. 

When interviewed after the awards’ ceremony in Farmleigh House the authors had little to say other than they were happy to live with the judgment of their peers, primary school teachers, primary school children and parents. 

The programme took six years’ research to bring to fruition, with up to one million words of script written for each of the four class levels in English about Irish for an animation company working through Polish!  According to Martina Harford, CEO of the publishing company Educational Company of Ireland (Edco) ‘Bua an Cainte’ is without doubt one of the most innovative and resource-intensive programmes that Edco has ever invested in, in our one hundred and five year history.

At a time when the market is crowded with traditional and undifferentiated approaches to teaching our native language, Bua na Cainte offers something unique and exciting, being the only fully interactive Irish Language programme available for schools, effectively bringing the language to life!”

Since its launch just over a year ago Bua na Cainte has grown enormously in popularity, and in that short time it has become the programme of choice for teachers in Primary schools nationwide.

Its pioneering approach to teaching Irish has received a phenomenal response from those using it with in excess of 70,000 copies of the Junior Infant to Second class textbooks having been sold, while almost 50 percent of Primary schools nationwide have adopted the digital technology, with many more lined up to make the switch next year.

Praise for the resource has been widespread from teachers and pupils alike receiving such comments: “My class has reacted brilliantly to the programme, they love Gaeilge now in a way I’ve never seen before, each day when it’s time for Gaeilge and I click on the icon for Bua na Cainte on my laptop, the class scream yay…The teachers cannot believe the improvement in spoken Irish within the school, not only are the kids speaking Irish in the class but also out in the hall, in the yard and especially at home with their parents.” said Sarah McIntyre, St. Catherine’s Infant School, Cabra, Dublin.

Prof. Michael A Hayes, President of MIC, congratulated the authors saying; “I warmly congratulate Seán De Brun and Martina Ní Fhátharta on this very significant recognition of their innovative and creative work. Bua an Cainte is a revolutionary development in the teaching and learning of Irish and it is gratifying to have this programme publically acknowledged by the European Commission.”

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