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Featured Expert / Area of focus:
Since 2012 Robert Teare is Manx Language Officer in the Department of Education and Children at the Isle of Man Government, United Kingdom.
He also is the author of the Regional Dossier “Manx, The Manx language in education in the United Kingdom” which has been reviewed by Julie Matthews in 2016 , headteacher of Bunscoill Ghaelgagh.
What is your background in the field of regional and minority languages/education/ multilingualism?
I have been a language teacher since 1993 and have been teaching Manx Gaelic full-time since 2005. I took a Professional Graduate Diploma in Education in Scottish Gaelic at the University of Strathclyde in 2006. In 2012 I was appointed Manx Language Officer, a civil service position with responsibility for the development of the language, particularly in schools. I lead a team consisting of myself, two full-time and four part-time teachers. We deliver lessons to pupils in the age range of 7-18, and provide lessons through Manx for two subjects per year in the early years of secondary school.
What do you think is the major challenge in your field of work?
- There are few opportunities to study through immersion. We have to work hard to create such opportunities.
- The heavy workload of teachers. Besides teaching, our teachers are responsible for; subject knowledge training, producing learning materials, writing and marking examinations for formal qualifications, liaising with schools, creating immersion environments.
- The team is peripatetic and has no dedicated classroom in any school.
What is one of the hottest new projects / items you are working on?
We are currently working on a new, sixty lesson, interactive course for learners. There will be a workbook to go with the course and we expect that the content will help adult learners as well as school pupils.
Are there any important references such as articles, links, etc. you would like to mention?
Half of the world’s languages are endangered, and rapidly passing into oblivion. Manx—the ancient Celtic tongue spoken on the Isle of Man—had all but vanished by the 1970s. Defying the odds, it has returned to daily use through the heroic efforts of Manx language warriors. I visited the Isle of Man recently to hear the story of Manx’s surprising survival.