Undergraduate study - 2020 entry

Degree Programme Specification 2019/2020

MA Honours in Primary Education with Gaelic (Learners)

To give you an idea of what to expect from this programme, we publish the latest available information. This information is created when new programmes are established and is only updated periodically as programmes are formally reviewed. It is therefore only accurate on the date of last revision.
Awarding institution: The University of Edinburgh
Teaching institution: The University of Edinburgh
Programme accredited by: The University of Edinburgh
Final award: MA (Honours) in Primary Education with Gaelic
Programme title: Primary Education with Gaelic (Learners)
UCAS code: not available
Relevant QAA subject benchmarking group(s): Languages; Standard for Provisional Registration
Postholder with overall responsibility for QA: Dr Fiona O’Hanlon (School of Education)
Date of production/revision: October 2011 (production), March 2013 (revision) March 2016 (revision), February 2017 (revision)

External summary

School education in Scotland through the medium of Gaelic is central to planning the future of the language. The statutory National Gaelic Language Plan 2012-17 intends that the number of pupils entering Gaelic-medium education should at least double from 400 to 800 by 2017, after which it is expected that the size of the sector will continue to grow in response to parental choice. There will thus have to be a significant new stream of graduates able to teach through the medium of Gaelic.

The MA (Honours) programme in Primary Education with Gaelic (Learners) contributes to meeting this need for Gaelic-medium teachers, and provides a new model of educating Gaelic-medium teachers who would also be qualified to teach in English-medium education. It rests on three disciplinary bases, in each of which the University of Edinburgh has internationally recognised strengths in teaching and research:

  • • The base in Education comprises courses in Educational Studies, Primary Studies, Professional Experience and Practice and in Bilingual and immersion education. This combination provides students with the opportunity for in-depth study of Education and Educational practices leading to a teaching qualification, alongside specialist subject knowledge in Gaelic language and bilingual and immersion education. Incorporated in the degree is a language immersion year, in the third year of the degree, at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Skye. The Professional Experience and Practice strand includes the innovation of a year-long placement in a Gaelic-medium school setting during the fourth year of study. This allows the opportunity for students to experience the lived reality of teaching and understand the complex contexts of schools as centres of teaching and learning, and the longer-term dynamics of schools as work places.
  • The base in Gaelic enables the graduate to build fluency in Gaelic and to acquire a knowledge of Gaelic culture, literature and history, setting these in an international comparative context.
  • The base in Linguistics enables the graduate to understand how language operates, and how children learn bilingually.

The MA Honours in Primary Education with Gaelic (Learners) programme is five years in duration, equivalent in length to the route into school teaching through an Honours degree and a PGDE, and is intended for ab initio learners, that is to say, students who start the degree with no or little Gaelic language competence. The MA Honours in Primary Education with Gaelic (Fluent Speakers) is four years in duration, and is intended for students who are fluent in Gaelic, or who have an appropriate school-level qualification in the language when commencing the course. The latter programme is described in a separate document (Programme Specification for MA Honours in Primary Education with Gaelic (Fluent Speakers)).

Educational aims of programme

The overall aim is to offer a degree in education which supports students to become educators who:

  • Have an enquiring and critical disposition and who will develop professional values of trust, respect, integrity, and a commitment to the principles of social justice.
  • Have an in-depth understanding and expertise in a discipline other than education, promoting the value of knowledge for its own sake and for its relevance in professional contexts.
  • Have the capacity and disposition to engage in career-long professional learning.
  • Have a deep knowledge and understanding of learning, and of children as individual learners, and the pedagogies associated with the primary curriculum.
  • Participate productively in learning communities and professional communities across University and schools.
  • Through extended and sustained professional practice, develop professional expertise and a deep knowledge of the complexities of school and community.

Additionally, the degree aims to develop students’ specialist knowledge and understanding by:

  • developing the high level of linguistic competence and confidence necessary to teach Gaelic or teach through the medium of Gaelic;
  • developing an understanding of Gaelic culture, literature and history, and of how the position of the language compares to that of other minority languages world-wide;
  • developing high level Gaelic-language skills through content-based language learning: that is, students will take courses on a range of topics through the medium of Gaelic;
  • understanding how children’s languages develop in a bilingual context;
  • understanding the role of the expert teacher in aiding pupils’ learning across the school curriculum in a bilingual setting;
  • understanding the place of Gaelic-medium education in Scottish education generally.

Programme outcomes: Knowledge and understanding

The learning outcomes for the Programme are at level 8 in years 1 and 2 and at level 10 in years four and five. They are supplemented by the requirements of the Standard for Provisional Registration (SPR) created by the General Teaching Council for Scotland. The SPR specifies what is expected of a student teacher at the end of Initial Teacher Education (ITE). The SPR includes standards for Professional Values and Personal Commitments, Professional Knowledge and Understanding and Professional Skills and Abilities. In addition, students are expected to develop graduate attributes, which are transferable to other areas of study and employment. The Programme is designed to build research and workforce capacity in the field of Gaelic-medium Primary Education in Scotland.

Graduates of this programme will have knowledge and critical awareness of:

  • the principles, issues, theories and research that underpin and inform constructs of childhood and primary education policy and practice (3-12 years)
  • the principles, issues, theories and research that underpin and inform teaching Gaelic as a language and the curriculum through a second language
  • theories of curriculum development and how they relate to the current Scottish Curriculum , a Curriculum for Excellence (Early, First and Second levels), and to the political history and development of educational policy
  • theories of second language acquisition, first language acquisition and the processes of language learning
  • the principles of social justice and inclusive practices in the context of the primary school and strategies designed to tackle inequality
  • observation and assessment strategies and procedures in the primary school context
  • a variety of pedagogical approaches appropriate for children as learners 3-12
  • the management and organisation of learning and teaching in primary school classrooms themselves as professional learners and reflective practitioners
  • research methods appropriate for educational and scientific enquiry

Gaelic as a medium of teaching and learning contributes strongly to the agreement at the Barcelona meeting of the European Council in March 2002 that all pupils learn at least two modern languages from an early age and to the recommendations of the Scottish Government Modern Languages Working Group’s 2012 report which aims for mother tongue and two other languages. Thus students graduating from the programme have an excellent grounding in these wider curricular aspirations.

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in research and enquiry

Graduates of this programme will be able to:

  • identify, define and analyse complex professional challenges and create processes to address them
  • search for, access, critically analyse, evaluate and synthesise relevant professional literature and information in order to develop their knowledge and understanding relating to primary school education and Gaelic
  • plan and execute a significant research project in the area of Gaelic-medium education including undertaking data collection and analyzing data systematically
  • critically question current primary education and Gaelic-medium education knowledge and policy and how these elements relate to wider issues within society nationally and globally (such as social justice and sustainability issues)
  • have an informed and professional respect for the values, principles, methods, standards and boundaries of primary education and the capacity to question these
  • recognize the importance of reflecting on their learning experiences

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in personal and intellectual autonomy

Graduates of the programme will be able to:

  • be open to, and critical of, new perspectives, methods and ways of thinking associated with Gaelic-medium and English-medium education
  • be creative and imaginative thinkers in dealing with professional and pedagogical issues across the wider primary education sector and specifically in the Gaelic-medium primary education sector
  • be independent learners who take responsibility for their own learning, and are committed to continuous reflections, self-evaluation and self-improvement
  • exercise substantial autonomy and initiative in academic and professional activities, including decision making on the basis of independent thought
  • reflect on social and ethical responsibilities linked to the application of their knowledge and judgments in Primary Education and Gaelic
  • use collaboration and debate with others to bring about change or develop new thinking in relation to educational issues
  • deal with complex ethical and professional issues in accordance with current professional codes of practice

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in communication

Graduates of the programme will be able to:

  • seek and value open feedback to inform genuine self-reflection
  • use professional communication (using oral, written and visual methods) as a means for collaborating and relating to others including university staff, fellow students, placement school staff, research participants and parents
  • communicate and interact respectfully with children in ways that value their diversity and enhance learning conversations
  • engage in critical discussion demonstrating listening skills, effective use of evidence and own experience to support assertions, and clear articulation of points

Programme outcomes: Graduate attributes - Skills and abilities in personal effectiveness

Graduates of the programme will be able to:

  • flexibly transfer their knowledge, learning and skills and abilities from one context to another (including within the University, between the disciplines of Education and Gaelic, and from University to school experiences)
  • effectively work in collaboration with others in a variety of educational contexts (including University sites of learning and placement schools), recognising the diversity of contributions individuals can make whilst capitalizing on their different thinking, experience and skills
  • plan, execute and critically evaluate a significant research and/or evaluation project in the area of Gaelic-medium primary education
  • have the confidence to make informed decisions relating to challenges and issues in primary education
  • identify and manage risks appropriately (e.g. during fieldwork, working with vulnerable groups)

Programme outcomes: Technical/practical skills

Graduates of this programme will be able to:

  • gather and analyse a variety of data on an agreed practitioner enquiry research project, valuing children and other research participants
  • manage and organize time, resources, records and information to support decision-making and inform planning for children’s learning
  • read purposefully and record what is relevant from a range of academic and professional literature and resource material
  • write accurately and clearly for academic purposes
  • use ICT to enhance their own learning, and develop and use ICT skills in a school context
  • participate effectively in communities of practice through multimodal communication

Programme structure and features

The Degree Structure and Degree Programme Tables below provide an overview of the compulsory courses and credit points in each year of study. Students will exit at the end of Year 5 with the award of MA (Hons) in Primary Education with Gaelic. Year 6 is the Induction year during which probationer teachers are placed in a Local Authority which provides Gaelic-medium education.

M.A. Primary Education with Gaelic (LEARNERS)

 

Semester 1 and 2

20 credits

20 credits

40 credits

20 credits

20 credits

 Year 1

Educational Studies 1a

Primary Studies 1

Gaelic 1A or 1B

Educational Studies 1b

 

Primary Literacies 1

Professional Experience & Practice: 8 Serial Days in Primary School Context

Opportunity to transfer to ‘with’ School

Year 2

Linguistics and English Language 1A

Mathematics in Primary Education

Gaelic 2A or 2B

Linguistics and the Gaelic Language

Primary Studies 2

Professional Experience & Practice: 8 Serial Days in Primary School & Other Relevant Professional Contexts

Year 3

 

AN CÙRSA COMAIS SABHAL MÒR OSTAIG, UHI

Professional Experience and Practice: Serial Days in Gaelic-medium School

Year 4

Professional Experience and Practice Gaelic-medium education: Year-long Placement (August to June) (80 credits)

     

Primary Studies 3 (Gaelic)– constructed as a blend of university recall and outreach sessions (20 credits – assessed across Semester 1 & 2)

Education and Gaelic in Scotland – constructed as university recall sessions (20 credits – assessed in Semester 2)

Year 5

Primary Literacies 2

Option Course

Education Studies 4

Child Bilingualism:

Language and Cognition

Theory and Pedagogy of Bilingual and Immersion Education

   Professional Experience and Practice: Serial Days in Gaelic-medium School

Year 6

 

Induction (arrangements to be agreed in partnership with Local Authorities)

YEAR

SEMESTER

 

COURSE NAME

CODE

LEVEL

CREDITS

1

1 & 2

Gaelic 1a OR Gaelic 1b

CELT08004

CELT08005

8

40

1

2

Educational Studies 1b: Teaching, learning and the Curriculum for Excellence

EDUA08100

8

20

1

2

Primary Literacies 1: Developing literacy in the early stages

EDUA08097

8

20

1

1

Educational Studies 1a: Introduction to Education and Education Research

EDUA08105

8

20

1

1

Primary Studies 1: The Nature of Knowledge

EDUA08106

8

20

2

1 & 2

Gaelic 2a OR Gaelic 2b

CELT08006

CELT08007

8

40

2

2

Linguistics and the Gaelic Language

CELT08019

8

20

2

1

Primary Studies 2: Learning and Integrating the Curriculum

EDUA08111

8

20

2

2

Mathematics in Primary Education

EDUA08096

8

20

2

1

Linguistics and English Language 1A

LASC08016

8

20

3

1 & 2

An Cùrsa Comais

EDUA07002

7

0

4

1 & 2

Education and Gaelic in Scotland

EDUA10187

10

20

4

1 & 2

Professional Experience and Practice: Gaelic-medium education

EDUA10202

10

80

4

1 & 2

Primary Studies 3

EDUA10189

10

20

5

1 & 2

Educational Studies 4

 EDUA10172

10

40

5

2

Option Course

From list of 4th year option courses on ‘MA Primary with …’ programmes

10

20

5

1

Theory and Pedagogy of Bilingual and Immersion Education

EDUA10198

10

20

5

1

Primary Literacies 2: Developing literacies in the middle and upper stages

EDUA10168

10

20

5

2

Child Bilingualism: Language and Cognition

LASC10077

10

20

Exit awards: On successful completion of the Programme students will be awarded with an MA (Hons) in Primary Education with Gaelic. Degree classification is based on the marks achieved on all fourth and fifth year courses. Successful completion of the Programme includes the achievement of a recognised teaching qualification which leads to Provisional Registration with GTCS. This will qualify students to teach in both the Gaelic-medium and English-medium sector. Progression requirements: Any student who is unable to continue on the Programme in the usual way may apply for Interruption of Studies. Students in this position are encouraged to re-join the Programme the following year. To gain an M.A. in Primary Education with Gaelic, students are required to pass all courses within the School of Education and in the Linguistics strand at level 8 and 10 and all courses within the Celtic strand at level 8. Four resits per course are permitted for all level 8 courses across the Programme, and one for level 10 courses in Education. Where a student resits a level 10 course in Education, the original fail mark will be used for degree classification. A supporting document is provided by the professional body, GTCS to indicate the requirement to allow students resit opportunities for all courses in Education, rather than progression via an aggregated average grade. This allows students to evidence that they meet, not only the academic requirements of courses, but also the Standard for Provisional Registration, as required by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) in respect of courses within the School of Education. Achievement of the M.A. in Primary Education with Gaelic is considered at the final board of examiners. The regulations relating to assessment for all students undertaking Years 4 and 5 of the M.A. in Primary Education with Gaelic (learners) are therefore as follows: 7) In each of Years 4 and 5 (i.e. the honours years), students must attain 80 credits and achieve an aggregate pass for the full 120 credits. 8) Subject to these conditions being met, one resit opportunity will be offered for a failed course assessment in courses within the school of Education but the first (failed) mark will be used for degree classification purposes with any successful resits recorded simply as ‘Pass’.

Articulation of learning Outcomes and Assessment Practices Details of the assessment practices relate directly to the learning outcomes for each course within the Programme can be found in the Programme and Course descriptors. Modes of study: The MA in Primary Education with Gaelic is a full-time taught programme. Students are expected to attend all university classes and all placements. It is taken as an indication of emerging professionalism that students attend all classes and placement commitments unless there are medical or personal reasons that make this impossible or inadvisable. Professional experience and practice placements are also an integral part of the Programme. Students will have serial days placement experiences in years 1, 2 and 5. In Year 4 they will spend one full year in a placement school. This satisfies the GTCS minimum requirements for school experience. Social responsibility, sustainability, equality and diversity Through the provision of this professional programme, the MA in Primary Education with Gaelic contributes to the realisation of the strategic goals and themes of the School of Education as outlined in the Moray House School of Education Strategic Plan 2013/14:

Enhancing the student experience in learning and teaching

Engaging with our wider community

Building strategic partnerships and collaboration

Promoting equality, diversity, sustainability and social responsibility One of the core aims of the Programme is to develop the professional values of trust, respect, integrity, and a commitment to the principles of social justice. The Professional Values and Personal Commitments that underpin the SPR are embedded in the design of the Programme. Where appropriate, across the Primary Studies, Educational Studies, Education and Gaelic in Scotland and Professional Experience and Practice courses, course content will foreground issues of equality, inequality and diversity, and will equip students with the conceptual tools to identify and address issues of accessibility and inclusion in their personal and professional lives, in their studies and in their future practice as teachers. Also underpinned within the Professional Standards is Learning for sustainability and this is embedded within the MA curriculum to ensure students have the opportunity to develop the knowledge, skills, values and practices necessary to understand and promote principles of sustainability in practice. The Programme design also ensures that assessment practices enable students to demonstrate achievement in a number of ways, taking account of diverse learning preferences. Student diversity is considered as a positive strength. Within the Programme an inclusive and enabling environment will be promoted. Unnecessary barriers to entry and progression on the programme will be identified and removed. The Programme will continue to seek to widen access to University. For example, our relationship with the Scottish Widening Access Programme will continue, and College admissions procedures will continue to give concession to students from areas of social deprivation.

Teaching and learning methods and strategies

All courses within the programme contain a combination of lectures, workshops, seminars, peer learning, collaborative and problem-based learning, supported and independent study. Some courses emphasise collaborative learning.

Year 4 offers a distinctive approach to teaching and learning. Students are placed in a school for one full year as part of the Professional Experience and Practice courses. The school is the primary context and site for teaching and learning. Students will be supported by university tutors through a blend of ‘outreach’ curriculum sessions, formative observations and professional discussions, supported peer and group activities within cluster school groupings, and attendance at university ‘recall’ session. Students will work alongside and under the guidance of teachers and other educational professionals in school contexts engaging in professional dialogues, observing practices and developing practical experience.

The programme is supported by the use of online learning environments. Each course is supported by a dedicated resource website. These communicate key information and act as a repository for resources such as lecture outlines, videos, e-reserve articles, course documentation and School, College and University Policies. They also provide an interactive space for academic discussion and digital learning opportunities

Teaching and learning workload

You will learn through a mixture of scheduled teaching and independent study. Some programmes also offer work placements.

At Edinburgh we use a range of teaching and learning methods including lectures, tutorials, practical laboratory sessions, technical workshops and studio critiques.

The typical workload for a student on this programme is outlined in the table below, however the actual time you spend on each type of activity will depend on what courses you choose to study.

The typical workload for a student on this programme for each year of study
Start yearTime in scheduled teaching (%)Time in independant study (%)Time on placement (%)
Year 129683
Year 228720
Year 300100
Year 4102565
Year 516840

Assessment methods and strategies

A wide range of assessment strategies are proposed across courses within the programme. These include exams, essays, reports, projects, presentations, online portfolios, journals, research reports etc. Assessments are designed to support the learning outcomes of individual courses by requiring students to develop and demonstrate the skills and knowledge specified. Assessments are transparent, with all assessed activities appearing in course descriptors and the CCAMMs entries. All courses maximise opportunity for formative and summative feedback. Professional Learning Portfolio (PLP) Students will be required to maintain an online professional learning portfolio (PLP) as part of their studies, throughout the duration of the M.A. in Primary Education Programme to develop the dispositions and capacity to act in critically reflective and reflexive ways. The PLP will provide a space for students to reflect critically on their academic and professional development. It will focus on the development of and reflection on:

  • academic subject knowledge (within and outwith education focused courses)
  • making explicit connections between ‘with’ subject and education
  • academic literacies
  • professional knowledge and skills
  • professional learning beyond the core taught courses
  • pedagogical understandings and skills
  • interplay between theory, practice, policy and research

The PLP as a whole document will not be assessed, however, extracts within it will be summatively assessed according to specific course requirements. The PLP will also serve as a tool for formative feedback and self-evaluation.

Assessment method balance

You will be assessed through a variety of methods. These might include written or practical exams or coursework such as essays, projects, group work or presentations.

The typical assessment methods for a student on this programme are outlined below, however the balance between written exams, practical exams and coursework will vary depending on what courses you choose to study.

The typical assessment methods for a student on this programme for each year of study
Start yearAssessment by written exams (%)Assessment by practical exams (%)Assessment by coursework (%)
Year 110783
Year 248646
Year 3000
Year 400100
Year 500100

Career opportunities

Career prospects for graduates of this programme are very favourable. As discussed above, there has been a long-standing shortage of Gaelic teachers in Scotland, especially primary teachers working in Gaelic medium. The statutory National Gaelic Language Plan 2012-17 intends that the number of pupils entering Gaelic-medium education should at least double from 400 to 800 by 2017, so that there will have to be a significant new stream of graduates able to teach through the medium of Gaelic.

Graduates of the programme will also be qualified to work in English-medium education and thus may avail of opportunities in schools throughout Scotland, not just in schools or council areas where Gaelic is offered.

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