Growing up, I read most books I could get my hands on. My imagination was filled with the mythologies of Ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt.
In high school, I discovered a deep appreciation for the culture of Ireland and Scotland. Traditional music filled my music collection (as well as heavy metal) and I learned to play the harp. Stories of the Fairy Folk and great heroes like Cù Chulainn and the Fianna burned in my imagination. I had to learn more.
I spent five years teaching Gaelic on the Isle of Islay. During my first year there, I saw students as young as 11 years old struggling with textbooks as I had years ago. Language learning wasn't a positive experience for the majority of students. Even after years of study, they couldn't communicate spontaneously or naturally.
Maybe that sounds familiar?
Wanting to offer them a better experience, I researched many other teaching approaches. I found a new way that works for everyone, not just those who are 'good at languages'.
It's quite simple: understand what you hear and read, and have it repeated enough to stick in your mind. Grammar study can be useful later on when you are conversational - and able to just focus on sharpening your accuracy.
When I switched my focus to immersion and communication, the results were staggering:
- Every single one of my students passed national exams (unheard of).
- My students could communicate their own thoughts and opinions
- Every student acquired some Gaelic, regardless of their motivation. A few students who had little desire to learn Gaelic could still darn well tell me they wanted to play a game - in Gaelic!
These are just the tip of the iceberg - the rest is a conversation for another day.
It is an honor to share Gaelic with you and I look forward to it very much. I will support you however I can.
Le gach deagh dhùrachd,
The Gaelic I speak to you will be 100% comprehensible
In person lessons will be personalized to you and your life
You will practice Gaelic conversation, not linguistics
You will build confidence and motivation
Your Gaelic may get rusty but will not be forgotten
I will read and respond to every message and email from you