Innovation in Language Learning

Edition 17

Accepted Abstracts

Advancing Scholarship in Immersion Teaching and Learning through Blogging

Tadhg Joseph Ó Ceallaigh, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick (Ireland)


In immersion education, teachers concurrently address content, language and literacy development through their students’ second language. To do so effectively, requires significant teacher preparation and professional development (Lyster & Tedick, 2014). Scholars have argued that in addition to native or near-native proficiency in instructional language(s), immersion teaching requires a particular knowledge base and pedagogical skill set. Immersion teacher preparation, therefore, is essential for the continued success and growth in language immersion education. Despite our increased awareness of the importance of providing a balanced instructional focus on form and meaning across the immersion curriculum, immersion teachers’ understandings of how to design and implement the most effective and efficient blendremains incomplete (Ó Ceallaigh & Ní Shéaghdha, 2017). This paper reports on how blogs were used in intense and multifaceted ways to cultivate interconnected aspects of immersion teacher knowledge. Collaborative blogging was used to enable twenty-two Irish immersion teachers to understand the critical connection between language and content and to develop the mandatory linguistic competencies and associated pedagogical practices of immersion.Data were collected from a variety of sources e.g. an extensive online questionnaire, reflections, assignments and focus groups.Findings provide unique insights into the knowledge demands related to designing and implementing content lessons and reveal the challenges for Irish immersion teachers in providing balanced language and content instruction. Findings suggest that the collaborative nature of online interaction was central to developing teachers’ linguistic resources in the immersion language and extending and transforming immersion teacher knowledge. Blogging enabled immersion teachers to engage in on-going, in-depth, systematic, and reflective examinations of their teaching practices and cultivated learner autonomy, motivation and success. Collaboration, motivation and challenge in turn promoted self-regulated language learning and advanced scholarship in immersion teaching and learning. This paper will conclude with a discussion on implications for designing meaningful and effective professional development experiences for language immersion teachers through collaborative blogging.

Keywords: immersion, blogging, linguistic competencies, scholarship, form, meaning

[1] Lyster, R. (2007).Learning and teaching languages through content: A counterbalanced approach.Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
[2] Ó Ceallaigh, T.J. and Ní Shéaghdha, A., (2017). Critéir aitheantais cuí um dhearbhú cáilíochta agus dea-chleachtais do bhunscoileanna agus iarbhunscoileanna lán-Ghaeilge ar bhonn uile Éireann.Baile Átha Cliath: Gaeloideachas. [All-Ireland quality and best practice indicators for elementary and post primary Irish-medium schools].

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