Breandán Mac Gearailt, Gerry Mac Ruairc & Clíona Murray (2021): Actualising Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) in Irish-medium education; why, how and why now?, Irish Educational Studies. This paper draws on the findings of a scoping literature review to provide a rationale for actualising CLIL as a pedagogical foundation in Irish-medium post-primary education. The authors will examine the literature and methodologies of CLIL and explore the links with immersion best practice and language acquisition, teaching and learning.
This is a time of great change, vulnerability and possibility for the Irish language and for Irish-medium education. Research shows the language in serious decline in the Gaeltacht; areas of Ireland designated as being predominantly Irish speaking. There are also inconsistent approaches at the policy level in addition to an ambiguous attitude to the language amongst the general public. This article examines the research, policies and recent initiatives relating to Irish-medium education and to the language itself. A core imperative underpinning this article is to explicate a strong case for the connection between Irish-medium education and international research on Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL), a field that encompasses the cognate area of immersion education best practice and draws on the theory and practice of language acquisition, teaching and learning. The authors contend that if the language learning outcomes of students in Irish-medium education, particularly at the post-primary level, are to be maximised, now is an opportune time, if not the last chance, to truly actualise CLIL.