Additional language education and language development goals: the example of Gaelic (learners) education in Highland Council, Scotland

Lindsay Milligan Dombrowski

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Language shift is the process whereby one language becomes increasingly lesser used in place of the use of another language. In Scotland, language shift is occurring for Gaelic, as English takes its place for a variety of functions in the home and wider community. Extensive literature has argued the important role that education can play in the process of reversing language shift, and there is a growing body of research in this area as relates to Gaelic medium education. Gaelic (learners) education, which is second language education of Gaelic that begins in secondary school, is lesser researched and its effects on reversing language shift are not well understood. This article presents the findings of 13 in-depth interviews held with teachers, depute head teachers and head teachers of five schools offering Gaelic (learners) education in the Highland Council area. The interview design borrowed heavily from the National Plan for Gaelic 2007-2012 (Bord na Gaidhlig) in the selection of topics and questions for discussion. Transcripts of interviews were inputted into Atlas.ti and coded during content analysis, using inductive codes. Findings from this investigation supported the contention that Gaelic (learners) education is able to achieve benefits in the development areas of acquisition and status.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-279
JournalBritish Educational Research Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014

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