The An t-Alltan 2017 conference for Gaelic teachers and Early Years staff was held in the
MacDonald Aviemore Conference Centre,
on 27 & 28 September.
The conference was an excellent professional learning opportunity for Gaelic educationalists and provided delegates with the opportunity to have a look at new initiatives for teaching and learning through a series of talks and workshops.
In a repeat of last year, we were pleased that the early years practitioners joined the main An t-Alltan conference.
We had 30 workshops so please look below to see what was on offer.
In addition to the earlier workshops, we were pleased to offer two short workshops at 5pm on Wednesday evening – An Introduction to Microsoft Sway (Presentation Software) and An Introduction to Raspberry Pi (Computer Programming).
We also offered participation in two focus groups – Historic Environment Scotland and Bookbug. The HES Focus group met at 5.00pm and the Bookbug one at 5.30pm.
Marie Macleod agus Fay MacDiarmid, Bòrd na Gàidhlig
A-null ‘s a-nall
Simple songs and rhymes which can be used in sessions with children aged 0-3 and their parents. Research has shown that learning songs and rhymes is very important in learning and language usage, and reinforces the teaching.
Jackie Mullen, from Stòrlann’s Go!Gaelic Outreach Team, will be delivering a workshop on the use of the Go! Gaelic resource with Gaelic learners from Early to Second Level.
There will be an opportunity to look at planning progressions for Gaelic Learners learning Gaelic as L2 and L3. Jackie, a learner herself, delivers GLL training (Gaelic Language Learning) to teachers from the central belt. GLL (formerly GLPS) is a distinct programme providing training, support and resources to equip teachers with the necessary Gaelic language skills and teaching methodology to deliver Gaelic as L2 or L3 from Early to Second Level in the primary school.
3. Who is that?
Using puppets to bring language alive with young children and parents. Seeing how to bring books to life using puppets and how to strengthen our own knowledge and skills. Different examples of how to create simple puppets with children.
4. Let’s go out
A chance to go out round the venue and see what we can do along with young children and parents outside in the environment – perhaps even look for little beasties. Creating simple resources to use with children for playing outside.
5. Language and usage
Alice Sharpe, Experiential Play
Creating a full Gaelic environment, based on research in early years and language immersion.
Lots of information and things to strengthen language with children and parents.
Working with children of different ages.
6. Messy Play
A workshop on play using different materials such as jelly, froth, mud, sand, flour, water, toys – loads of fun!
Creating places outside for children to play and learn – building dens, shelters and some “Bushcraft” skills.
Early Years delegates also have the option of attending any of the Early Years workshops which run concurrently (Sessions 1, 2, 3 and 4).
Thanks to the Early Years Team at Bòrd na Gàidhlig for assistance with arranging EY workshops.
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.
Opening / Speech
We had expected Joan MacKay, Assistant Director, Education Scotland to address the conference on Wednesday morning.
Joan has the lead role for Education Scotland’s contribution to the national Developing the Young Workforce programme, working in collaboration with national partners. She also leads Creativity across Learning and Community Learning and Development.
Unfortunately Joan had to withdraw at the last minute but we were delighted that she asked Ollie Bray, Headteacher of Kingussie High School to stand in for her. Ollie inspired the audience with his presentation on pedagogical change through structural change, as demonstrated in his own school. We are indebted to Ollie for his contribution at such short notice. His keynote address was streamed live on Facebook and is available on Stòrlann’s Facebook page, as are all the sessions from the main auditorium.
An t-Alltan 2017
“It’s great to meet other people in the same situation as yourself.”