The glory of Gaelic

17th October 2003 at 01:00
With a Gaelic Language Bill just announced and the Great Book of Gaelic arriving in Edinburgh, it's time to celebrate

An Leabhar Mor: The Great Book of Gaelic. Education pack with CD-Rom, audio CD, 20 colour prints and a poster. Brigh and the Gaelic Arts Agency. 5-14 levels DE, S1-S2, Standard Grade and Higher. Sent free to Gaelic-medium schools and secondary Gaelic departments.

The education pack supporting the Leabhar Mor na G...idhlig exhibition is a valuable resource for both primary and secondary schools, English- and Gaelic-medium classes, and complements the book telling the story of the project with all the pictures and poems.

Both were sent to all schools teaching Gaelic in Scotland but they would be useful in any school wishing to give a taste of Gaelic culture in the curriculum.

The pack was created by the Glasgow company Brigh, run by educationist Anne Lorne Gillies, who created the teaching materials, and her husband Kevin Bree.

Two CDs are at the heart of the pack. The CD-Rom has extensive teachers'

notes, background information, pupils' worksheets in Gaelic and English and illustrations from the Book of Kells, with information. The audio CD gives renditions of 20 poems chosen from the Great Book, some spoken and some spoken and sung.

The excellent information section gives historical background to the Scottish-Irish connection, with a chronology of key events, maps, information on the Celtic languages and, interestingly, a taste of the story tradition which Ireland and Scotland share, for example, tales of Cu Chulainn and Diarmad and Gr...inne.

The pupils' work revolves around the 20 selected poems. One of the beauties of the pack is that teachers can pick and choose a poem and artwork to study according to pupils' needs and abilities. The work covers language, expressive arts, environmental studies, religious and moral education and history.

Worksheets on subjects such as monks, boats, heroes, love, nature and calligraphy link with the exhibition but can be used with the prints provided or the book.

I highly recommend this pack, the only quibble being that not all the information is in Gaelic as well as English, rendering it less useful for Gaelic-medium classes.

Myles Campbell is a Gaelic writer and teacher at Gairloch High

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