Pupils in our local primary schools will have already learned some Gaelic and have the opportunity to continue with their study of the native language of Wester Ross in Gairloch High. Our Gaelic (Learners) courses are for learners – there are separate courses for fluent speakers.
S1-3 – The Course
The overall aim of the course is to develop pupils’ ability to communicate in the four key language skills (listening, reading, writing and speaking). The main focus however is on the development of spoken communication in Gaelic. The course is built around Ceumannan (a recently published textbook) and this helps to effectively build pupils’ understanding and use of Gaelic. Pupils should have a very good understanding of everyday language by the end of S3 and an ability to effectively engage in discussion. Topics include home, family, pets, food and drink, school subjects, hobbies.
S4-6 – The Course
Pupils will have the option to continue with Gaelic in S4. In S4 pupils will study the language at either National 4 or National 5, depending on progress in S3. Higher and Advanced Higher courses are available in S5 and S6. Gaelic progressively becomes the language of the classroom. Pupils begin to read and view more advanced literature in the senior school, including short-stories, novels and modern Gaelic drama. They also experience more real life situations in Gaelic. Pupils can reach a good level of fluency having completed these courses. Several pupils who have studied Gaelic (learners) courses in Gairloch High are now studying Gaelic at degree level or are working in jobs that require fluency in the language.
Exciting opportunities with Gaelic
The FilmG competition now has a prize category for Best Learners’ Film. Our first learners’ entry (hopefully the first of many) was in the 2017 competition. Although the film did not receive a nomination, the senior pupils involved gained greatly from the opportunity to write a script, use cameras and sound equipment when filming and then edit and produce the final cut. Their film can be seen here. It is a documentary about the sinking of the U.S.S William H. Welsh near Cove (Inverasdale) in World War II. The pupils write: ‘A tragedy that was hidden by the Navy during World War II impacted our own community. What we heard from John Murdo MacKenzie (who was just a young lad at the time) horrified and intrigued us – we had to find out more.’