Dearcthaí agus Cleachtais Ghairmiúla maidir le Tionchar an Tumoideachais ar Dhaltaí i nGaelscoileanna atá lonnaithe i gCeantair faoi Mhíbhuntáiste: Deiseanna agus Dúshláin
Irish immersion education, although traditionally deemed as an advantage enjoyed principally by middle-class families where parents were a driving force of demand and promotion, has become increasingly available to a more diverse body of students throughout Ireland. Diversity takes shape mainly in the socio-economic, linguistic, ethnic and special educational needs of students from various backgrounds attending Irish-medium schools. Thirteen Irish-medium primary schools situated in designated areas of disadvantage throughout Ireland are part of the DEIS1 Plan, which offers additional support to improve the educational experiences and outcomes of young people who are at social disadvantage.
This paper examines the challenges and benefits of immersion for students in Irish-medium education in disadvantaged settings. We present data collected from school principals, teachers and special education teachers on the issues that impact the schools and their students. The main issues highlighted were poor acquisition of English as a first language, attending to the needs of children with learning difficulties, lack of awareness and diagnostic tools in Irish during psychological assessments, lack of parental support, deficiencies in appropriate teaching and assessment resources through Irish, the absence of language support for Irish and a language support teacher, and a need for a greater emphasis in teacher education on immersion education and on education in socially disadvantaged settings.