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Advantages of Immersion Education

Immersion Education Benefits

Cognitive Benefits

Greater cognitive flexibility and divergent thinking; students become more creative thinkers, with the ability to provide a range of valid solutions to a problem.

Increased attentional control and enhanced executive control; this means that students are better at paying attention, focusing on and completing tasks, listening and communicating.

They have better memory skills, are better at responding to situations and making reasonable decisions and are more secure in their decision-making.

Communicative Benefits

Students’ ability in other languages (including English) increases rather than decreases.

Languages share the same cognitive process; concepts and skills acquired in one are transferred to the other and are processed in either language since both are interactive.

Increased Tolerance and Self-esteem

Fosters higher levels of tolerance amongst children.

Students have a broader exposure to and appreciation of the value of various cultures, this leads to deeper multiculturalism, greater tolerance and less racism.

Bilingualism gives them a greater sense of identity and increases their self-esteem.

Academic Benefits

Children gain a better understanding of the foundations of language – grammar, word formation, sentence order. They gain transferable skills that help them to learn other languages.

Students in Irish-medium schools have higher achievement in both English and Maths than their peer groups in English-medium schools.

Irish-medium schools are also more likely to provide a broader curriculum than other school types.

From English medium schools?

Parents need not worry that their children will not understand their teacher. The immersion model supports children’s language acquisition through total absorption and involvement, it is not a “sink-or-swim” approach. Though teachers will speak in Irish to the children from the very first day, they will use body language, pictures and tone of voice to make sure that the children understand them. Children will quickly learn to speak Irish to their teacher and their classmates.

Children for whom neither Irish nor English is a home language benefit from immersion education and it will benefit rather than hinder their acquisition of English. Supports for children for whom English is an additional language are available in Irish-medium schools just as they are in other schools.

We welcome in lots of students from English-speaking primary schools. An assessment of their level of Irish is determined through a short interview and written exam. Students are also facilitated with extra Irish classes in first year to help ease the transition.

Many of our past pupils have achieved success gaining maximum points in their leaving cert and going on to achieve success in their chosen career.

From Irish medium schools?

We are the natural progression for students from Irish medium primary schools where we continue developing on their language proficiency on primary school and ensuring that they become fully bilingual and develop to their full potential.

Supporting Students with Special Educational Needs

The same supports are made available to children with special educational needs (SEN) in Irish-medium schools and they enjoy the same benefits of bilingual education. Irish-medium schools routinely cater for children with physical and intellectual disabilities; sight and hearing difficulties, Autism spectrum disorders, dyslexia, and other SEN. Some Irish-medium schools are now being granted special units to cater for children with additional needs.


“Bilingual education for children with SEN does no harm and clearly does contribute to social, emotional and interpersonal growth” – NCSE Report, 2011

“To this day, I believe attending Coláiste Pobail Osraí was the best decision I ever made”
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