The An t-Alltan 2016 conference for Gaelic teachers and Early Years staff was held in the
MacDonald Aviemore Conference Centre,
on 28 & 29 September.
The conference was an excellent professional learning opportunity for Gaelic educationalists and gave delegates the opportunity to have a look at new initiatives for teaching and learning through a series of talks and workshops.
In a change to previous conferences, we are pleased that the early years practitioners joined the main An t-Alltan conference rather than having their own separate event.
Opening / Speech
We were pleased that the conference was opened by Shona MacLennan, CEO of Bòrd na Gàidhlig, followed by Mona Wilson, Director of Gaelic Education at Bòrd na Gàidhlig.
We were also pleased that speaking on Thursday was Maureen McKenna, OBE, Executive Director of Education Services, Glasgow City Council.
1. Singing Session
An opportunity to learn some new Gaelic songs and rhymes that can be used with young children. Lots of fun and laughter!
2. Writing Simple Songs
Morag Stewart and Mairi MacInnes
An opportunity to work with Morag Stewart and Mairi MacInnes creating and learning simple, fun songs for children and families learning Gaelic.
3. Mindstretchers: Nurture to Nature
Working with children 0-3 outdoors and learning in their community, by playing and using natural resources to strengthen their knowledge and skills in the outdoors.
4. Teaghlaichean agus Sgoiltean Còmhla (TASC)
Diorbhail Wentworth & Carrie Afrin
Comann nam Pàrant
This workshop was run by Comann nam Pàrant’s Diorbhail Wentworth and Carrie Afrin who shared new ideas and top tips for a new project that aims to strengthen and support Gaelic in the home, school and community.
5. Transition in the Early Years
Information to look at supporting positive transitions in the Gaelic early years so that children have a positive and seamless transition into nursery and Primary school.
DW Morrison, Stòrlann
Information about Go Gaelic and resources to support parents and children learning Gaelic.
Assessment Focus Group
There is a recognised need for resources in Gaelic medium education and this includes assessment based materials.
The roll out of national level assessments makes this a pressing issue to consider.
Little is documented in research about what GME teachers perceive about assessment and its place in the classroom. Dr Fiona Lyon and Dr Sarah MacQuarrie held a discussion with teachers during the conference to target this topic. They talked to attendees and gathered their views about this area of policy and practice.
This was a one-off session during the conference and was attended by almost 30 teachers.
An t-Alltan 2016
“It’s great to meet other people in the same situation as yourself.”