Irish Interview

How to prepare for an Irish Interview

Applicants who wish to gain entry into the Professional Master of Education in Primary Education must sit a competitive interview. This 30 minute interview includes a general interview which assesses students’ suitability to teach and their knowledge of teaching alongside a 10-12 minute Gaeilge interview which assesses their ability in Gaeilge. In the Gaeilge interview, applicants are assessed on communication skills, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension and accuracy. As a core subject of the primary school curriculum, a good command of Gaeilge is necessary to undertake this programme of study.

Structure of the Gaeilge Interview

Applicants will be interviewed by two examiners. One examiner will focus on the general interview (conducted in English) and the other examiner will ask questions in Irish. Applicants choose whether they begin with the Gaeilge component or the English component first.

The video below gives a comprehensive overview of the interview as well as advice on how to prepare for it.

Structure of the Gaeilge Interview

Applicants will be interviewed by two examiners. One examiner will focus on the general interview (conducted in English) and the other examiner will ask questions in Irish. Applicants choose whether they begin with the Gaeilge component or the English component first.

The video below gives a comprehensive overview of the interview as well as advice on how to prepare for it.

What standard is required?

Students should remember that Gaeilge is a core subject of the primary curriculum and that a good command of the language is necessary in the teaching profession. Therefore, candidates should demonstrate a level of Gaeilge whereby they could teach the language effectively in the classroom, or a sufficient standard whereby they could reach that level easily over the course of the PMEP.

Candidates should be able to engage in a continuous and fluid conversation with the examiners and discuss a range of topics clearly. They should demonstrate a high standard of accuracy, fluency, comprehension and pronunciation.

Candidates are also reminded that the PMEP is a level 9 programme and they will be expected to study the language at that level.

Watch the video below to see a sample of strong responses to a selection of common questions that could come up in the Gaeilge interview. Remember that these questions are a sample only.

Courses provide an online course tailored to the needs of applicants to the PMEP. This course is accessible from anywhere in Ireland and is full of useful vocabulary, grammar, and tips in relation to the interview. There is also a blended-learning option for students who wish to attend face-to-face classes in Dublin.

The Dublin Academy of Education in Stillorgan is offering an 8-week comprehensive course aimed at those who will be doing the Irish language interview for the Professional Master of Education at Hibernia College.

Students who attend this online course will receive:

6 x 75 minute classes taught by Ireland’s leading teachers
2 mock oral exams with feedback on what areas to improve on
Comprehensive study notes

Research and Preparation

Prospective students of the primary programme are encouraged to prepare well in advance of their Gaeilge interview.

While confidence can indeed be key, students are assessed in terms of their communicative skills, their language accuracy, their comprehension, their vocabulary and their general fluency. Examiners are well trained in spotting scripted responses, and we encourage applicants to develop their Gaeilge in a natural way in order to be able to engage in a fluid and varied conversation.

Firstly, remember that the best way to improve your level of Irish is to practise the language regularly. Try to find opportunities to speak to other people frequently. Gaelscoileanna and libraries often run Irish classes or conversation groups so why not start there? We also advise applicants to do a formal course or an evening class. You should speak the language for at least thirty minutes every day.

As well as that, high quality books, magazines, newspapers, podcasts and radio programmes are widely available in the language so get reading, listening, writing and talking as much as you can!

Please find below some useful resources and services that can help you improve your command of Irish before applying to the PMEP:
An electronic version of the two of the main Irish language dictionaries, Niall Ó Dónaill’s Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla and Tomás de Bhaldraithe’s English-Irish Dictionary, as well as An Foclóir Beag (Ó Dónaill & Ó Maoileoin, 1991). This site contains a host of useful extras, including a Pronunciation Database and a Grammar Database where users can look up a wide array of grammatical questions, including verb tenses, noun declensions and forms, comparative forms of adjectives and much more.
The new English-Irish Dictionary from Foras na Gaeilge. The dictionary is available free of charge, and has been adapted to work both on desktop computers and on mobile devices. There is also an app. This dictionary contains a very large database of words and phrases so users can often find results and entries here not found in other dictionaries. Many entries contain sound files in the three main dialects and comprehensive grammatical information. Words are accompanied by numerous sample sentences, allowing users to see words in context.
If you are looking to improve your vocabulary, take a look at the main Irish language newspaper. You’ll find a wide variety of articles on the site and a dedicated section for learners of the language.
A culture magazine with a modern design covering a range of contemporary issues and topics.
A monthly magazine published from May 2001 until September 2014. Although no longer being published, the full archive is available on the site. Articles are of a high standard and all are accompanied by a comprehensive glossary, making them very accessible for learners of all levels.
Ciorcail chomhrá, or conversational circles, are informal Gaeilge meet-ups which can prove useful to applicants who want to meet other Gaeilge speakers face-to-face to chat. This site contains a comprehensive list of ciorcail chomhrá, events, festivals, news items and much more.
The national Irish language television service. TG4 also provides an online player, allowing users to access a broad range of programmes free of charge. The site contains a dedicated educational area, TG4 Foghlaim. Here you will find interactive content and exercises developed to help students prepare for the Leaving Certificate oral examination. This resource is also very useful for general language learners who are looking to improve their language proficiency.
Users can listen live to Raidió na Gaeltachta online or download shows as podcasts.
An Irish-language radio station located in Dublin. Many learners like this station as many of the presenters are learners themselves and do not have strong dialects.
Users can purchase educational books and resources from this site, including Gramadach gan Stró!, the best-selling grammar book by Éamonn Ó Dónaill.
Cló Iar-Chonnacht is one the largest publishers in Ireland. A great range of books can be purchased here, including educational content and children’s books.
Here you will find lots of information about classes and events for adults and schoolchildren.
This site offers comprehensive information about Teastas Eorpach sa Ghaeilge (European Certificate in Irish). You’ll find information and advice here in relation to exams, resources, learning strategies and much more. There is also extensive sample content that can be used to assist you with your language

Previous successful candidates have also found private tuition or grinds helpful in preparing for the Gaeilge component of the PMEP interview. Students are encouraged to speak as much Gaeilge as possible with anyone who will listen!

Talk to yourself, even! In order to build confidence and fluency before your interview, you should speak Gaeilge for 15-20 minutes every day for a number of months before the interview, and then build up to 30 minutes every day in the month before the interview. Bain triail aisti!

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