Our blog serves as regular motivation for you to speak the Irish language. Find posts about culture, videos where you find how to say certain phrases, and member interviews to tell you about their experience of learning the language.

Foghlaim Faoi Ghlas: Lockdown Learning

We asked you, our readers, how your learning journey has been affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic and the restrictions that have been put in place. Each week, we’ll take a look at different aspects of your responses – from how you’ve kept yourself motivated to tips on accessing different resources.

Twenty-four per cent of you said you had attended in-person classes prior to the Coronavirus and and 55% are using an online program like Bitesize Irish. Since restrictions were put in place, less than half of those who attended in-person classes have access to online lessons with their teachers, so what are they doing?

From this survey, and from our own experience, we see that there’s been a huge increase in people’s interest in learning online, and not just with Bitesize Irish.

This week, to start off, we’re looking at the experiences of three different learners: Kristen, from Massachusetts, USA; Jen from Duluth, Georgia in USA and Lisa from the United Kingdom.

Kristen, Massachusetts

Kristen is a self learner – she learns online herself reading and watching videos. Her learning habits haven’t changed much since the pandemic began but she is feeling more motivated!

“During this pandemic, I’ve felt inspired to learn more of all of my ancestral languages, including Irish. I’ve started with learning some prayers and songs in the languages. (Thank you, Siobhán, for teaching us the Hail Mary!) Last night I watched a short video about Irish, part of the Mother Tongue Film Festival. This learning has definitely enriched my life and helped me feel grounded and connected during this crazy time.”

Lisa, United Kingdom

Bitesize Irish Member Lisa is finding she has more time to learn during lockdown and that progress has been its own motivation! She has used a number of different apps and online progrms but I’m happy to report she is finding Bitesize Irish to be her favourite so far!

“I find Bitesize Irish is like having my own personal teacher, and although I’m still trying to master the basics, learning with Bitesize Irish means I’m getting closer to being able to have a short conversation, and I feel that has definitely strengthened my connection to the language. If you can figure out how to say the words (thank you for the amazing cheat sheets!) you begin to feel more confident that you will, one day far in the future, be able to speak Irish much more easily than you can today.

“Because of lockdown and being furloughed from work, I’ve had more time to learn the language, and knowing you’re making progress is its own motivation. Also, Bitesize Irish’s approach really helps – because you’re taking small steps and are encouraged to practice until you’re comfortable saying the words (and because you’re learning at home no one can hear you stumbling over them!) you never feel discouraged or that learning Irish is impossible.”

Jen, Georgia, USA

Until very recently, Jen’s only dalliance with Gaeilge was through a cassette tape with Irish phrases. Now she’s having great success exploring Gaeilge online – reading and watching videos, using Bitesize Irish resources and she’s upgraded to the Buntús Cainte CDs!

“I tried to learn Irish many years ago from a cassette I got from the library. I didn’t get very far because Irish isn’t really taught at many places here in the U.S. and this was before the internet. A few months ago I was chatting with an Irish friend and he asked if I’d ever tried to learn Irish. Then I saw an add for a free online Irish course and since I now have lots of free time because of the pandemic, I signed up. I also found online resources like Bitesize Irish to help me.

“Now that I have so much free time and I have found helpful online resources like Bitesize Irish, I am motivated to keep on learning. I’ve come much further than I did when I tried to learn Irish the first time and I plan to stick with it even when things return to ‘normal.’ “

So what do you think? Can you relate to these learners’ experiences?

If you’re looking for a way to enhance your own learning now, check out what we have to offer here at Bitesize Irish – it’s not just courses, we’ve got a whole community of learners who motivate each other! Find out more here

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