Alumni profile

Áine Ni Shléibhín

PME in Primary Education



Gaelscoil na Dúglaise, Corcaigh


BA in Gaeilge and Geography from UCC and a Postgraduate Diploma in Communications through Irish from NUIG


Duais Ghaeilge Gael Linn

Why did you choose teaching and why Hibernia College? 

I had considered being a teacher for many years before I eventually applied. The timing never seemed right, but studying with Hibernia College allowed me the flexibility to undertake this course. Little did I know when I started the course that Covid would come along and change the way everyone was communicating and learning; the PME allowed me to continue to study while juggling home-schooling and all the other changes that the pandemic brought.

What field of work or study were you in before you started your PME? 

Before I started the PME, I was working in the area of Irish language television production. I have been fortunate to work with some amazing companies and productions, all through the medium of Irish. There is such a vibrant film and television industry that work through Irish, and I had a chance to work in a number of different, challenging and interesting roles. I have always been passionate about Gaeilge, and this is something I hope to build on through education.

Can you tell us a bit about your research project and why you focused on this area? 

I looked at the use of play to acquire a second language. I’m very interested in tumoideachas, or immersion education, and how children learn a language that is not their mother tongue. I saw the benefits that Aistear has in play-based learning and wanted to study more about how this could have an effect on second-language acquisition. I looked not only at the case of the acquisition of Gaeilge as a second language in Ireland but also at how minority languages are acquired internationally, such as in the Basque country and Canada.

Now that you have graduated, what are your plans? 

First and foremost, I want to build on my teaching experience, and I have been lucky enough to secure a substitute post in Gaelscoil iontach, where I not only did my school placement but where I was also a past pupil. I think it is so important now to develop my teaching style. After coming through the PME, it’s great to be able to put what I have learned into practice. I hope to continue to develop professionally, with a special interest in Gaeilge.

What piece of advice would you give to any person considering starting a PME?

I would encourage anyone who is considering starting the PME to go for it. It is a very intense two years, so my advice would be to just keep on top of the work. There are such a wide variety of modules, it will probably become clear early on what area you are most drawn towards and this can help to guide you in your research as well.


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