Together Through Culture-Le Chéile Trí Chultúr
Together Through Culture (TTC) , developed by Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta and funded by the International Fund for Ireland, seeks to encourage reconciliation, understanding and sharing between Unionists and Nationalists through bringing school pupils from the two traditions together to learn and discuss the Gaelic language and culture.
TTC will attempt to break down barriers between the two communities associated with language, culture and heritage by increasing knowledge, understanding and awareness of Gaelic, illustrating its relevance to all who inhabit the island of Ireland, through references to place-names, surnames, music and through imparting some basic words and phrases in Gaelic.
TTC will explore all aspects of the language issue in Northern Ireland, with a comprehensive programme designed to facilitate engagement with Gaelic in a neutral and entertaining way. It is not a language course, but an enrichment course in Gaelic studies, although there will inevitably be a language-learning component.
The central aim of TTC is to de-mystify, de-stigmatise and de-politicise Gaelic by making pupils aware that the language is a part of their heritage and something they use – perhaps unwittingly – in their everyday lives.
TTC will cross educational sectors, by creating partnerships and nurturing links with different types of schools. These include Irish-medium, controlled and integrated schools at both primary and post-primary levels and CCMS schools at post primary level primarily.
TTC will seek to ensure that participants’ educational opportunities are enhanced and that they gain knowledge, skills and experience to enhance their potential as individuals and as active participants in society.
TTC can operate at various levels to suit schools and could be incorporated into The World Around Us or Citizenship studies or developed as a strand in a school’s own options programmes.
A range of options is outlined below:
A full eight-week engagement with the language, involving one period per week. Emphasis on language learning, but with a focus on the “living language” in the form of place-names, surnames, personal names and music. Attitudes to the language in contemporary Northern Ireland will also bé considered.
The same as Option 1, but compressed into four weeks for those schools who do not feel they have the time to run the full programme.
A half-day/one-day enrichment course, with emphasis on the “fun” side of Gaelic and a strong musical component. A suggested timetable might be:
9.15 – 10.15 Introduction, Surnames and personal names & discussion
10.15 – 11.00 Language session & discussion
11.15 – 12.15 Place-names & discussion
13.00. – 13.45 Language session & discussion
13.45 – 14.45 Irish music and dance
14.45 – 15.00 Evaluation & discussion and brief musical “farewell”